Former Union Minister and president of Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) Upendra Kushwaha on Wednesday conceded that he accepted money to the tune of Rs 90 lakh from his former party colleague Pradeep Mishra. He also conceded that he and his family members travelled to foreign countries after Mishra arranged his off-shore tickets and stay.
“I needed money… My party is a small organisation. ‘Agar koi paisa deta hai, toh lene mein kya harz hai’ (If somebody gives me money, then what’s the problem?),” said Kushwaha, who was Union Minister of State for HRD in the Narendra Modi Government for 55 months before parting ways with NDA in December 2018.
Kushwaha’s assertions comes barely a day after Mishra, who, till Sunday, was national general secretary of the RLSP but has been now ousted, disclosed that he deposited two cheques of Rs 45 lakh each in Kushwaha’s bank account in SBI, Parliament Street House, New Delhi.
“I deposited Rs 90 lakh into Kushwaha’s SBI account No. 31286341829. The amount was given to RLSP chief in the name of giving me Lok Sabha ticket from Motihari constituency,” said Mishra. Now thrown out of the party, Mishra also claimed that he spent around Rs 10 crore on Kushwaha in the hope of getting party ticket for parliamentary elections. “Out of this Rs 10 crore, I paid Kushwaha Rs 55 lakh when he organised Siksha Sudhaar (education reforms) rally in Patna last year,” said Mishra and added, “Kushwaha, however, sold Motihari Lok Sabha ticket to Madhav Anand, a liaison officer of a private company involved in the 2G scam.”
Kushwaha conceded that he made foreign trips on Mishra’s money. “But where is corruption involved in all these transactions. If a rich person wants to donate fund to the party, he or she is welcome to do so. And those who are not satisfied, should meet Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and get a CBI probe recommended against me,” said Kushwaha, charging JD (U) strongman with pulling the ropes from behind.
Last month, Kushwaha’s estranged colleague Nagmani, who was Union Minister in Vajpayee regime, too had charged Kushwaha with selling Lok Sabha tickets. The RLSP chief had then not reacted. But on Wednesday, Kushwaha made a clean breast: “When seats in Bihar have not been finalised among the constituents of Mahagatbandhan, where is the question of RLSP selling Lok Sabha tickets.”