Jan Adhikar Party Chief and former Member of Parliament Rajesh Ranjan popularly known as Pappu Yadav was taken into police custody today from his residence in Mandiri, Patna. He was earlier put under house arrest by the Buddha Colony Police station. The Patna police took Papu Yadav into custody under the pretext that he had not followed the lockdown rules. The move comes after Papu Yadav exposed the ambulance scam in Amnour village in Bihar’s Saran district, which implicates Rajiv Pratap Rudy, a sitting MP representing the Bhartiya Janata Party.
What is the ambulance scam?
Papu Yadav says he was visiting hospitals and other facilities meant for COVID-19 treatment after he heard about the irregularities like pandemic profiteering, black marketing of life saving drugs and instances of inefficiency in emergency response. During one such inspection in the Amnour village, which is the hometown of BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Yadav discovered 30 ambulances parked idle. Upon further probing he found that these ambulances were procured under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) fund in 2019 and remained non-operational despite the severity of the pandemic in the state. These ambulances bore Rudy’s name and were covered with saffron coloured plastic sheets and tarpaulin which is the party colour of BJP.
Yadav, along with his supporters visited the place on Friday where the ambulances were parked. He had a tiff with the security guards who did not let him in and removed the tarpaulin covers from the stationary ambulances.
Papu Yadav has alleged that Rudy had distributed the ambulances to his own people. “He has distributed some ambulances among his own men. There should be a probe into the matter. The MPLAD fund is public money,” he said.
Rudy defended himself by putting up an excuse of lack of dedicated drivers. Addressing the issue through a video, Rajiv Pratap Rudy said “There were only 20 ambulances parked there because of lack of drivers. If Pappu Yadav wants to take all these ambulances, he can do so, but with a promise to the people of Saran that he will provide drivers for all of them. Mr. Yadav should do politics in Madhepura, not in Saran.” Papu Yadav produced a group of drivers in front of the local media who had expressed their eagerness to help out during the crisis by driving the ambulances. The drivers displayed their drivers’ licenses to the local media.
Papu Yadav was put under house arrest after a supporter of Rudy complained to the police for trespassing and vandalising the ambulances.
Yadav upon being arrested had Tweeted, “I have been taken to Patna’s Gandhi Maidan police station after being arrested.” In an earlier tweet in Hindi, Yadav wrote, “If confrontation with a situation to keep one’s own life at stake during Corona time is a crime, then, yes, I’m a criminal. PM Sir, CM Sir, I’ll not stop even if hanged or sent to jail. I’ll save people, will keep exposing dishonesty”.
Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of the state who heads a secular minded party Janata Dal (United), is in bed with the communal BJP which has higher numerical strength in the legislative assembly. Papu Yadav has acquired a ‘Robinhood’ status, since he is been seen helping Covid patients get oxygen cylinders and visiting hospitals to help the needy. Papu Yadav had served as union minister of state (independent charge) of skill development ministry in Narendra Modi’s previous ministry.