Patna, Apr 12: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday ordered restoration of the security arrangements at the residence of former chief minister Rabri Devi, a day after the latter "returned" the state security cover in protest against withdrawal of guards from her residence in Patna.
Rabri, however, refused to accept the restoration of security until she received a suitable explanation for the earlier action. Kumar directed the state home department to explain "when, why and at what level" was the decision taken for changing the security arrangements in place, at the residence allotted "for life to two former chief ministers" - Rabri Devi and her husband, jailed RJD supremo, Lalu Prasad.
"The letter from Rabri Devi was brought to the notice of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar upon his arrival in Patna today," an official release said.
Rabri had shot off a letter to Kumar yesterday, stating that she wished to "return" the security at her 10, Circular Road residence after recall of some of the guards around Tuesday midnight. The state government had said that the guards, who were recalled from Rabri's residence, had been deputed for Lalu Prasad Yadav.
It clarified that the decision to withdraw the security cover was taken because Prasad has been away since his conviction in a fodder scam case by a CBI court at Ranchi in December last year. However, RJD leaders had cried foul, alleging that there was a conspiracy to harass, and even eliminate Lalu Prasad's family. They also pointed out that the withdrawal of security had come within hours of Rabri's interrogation by the CBI in connection with a railway hotels scam.
The chief minister, who is also the national president of Janata Dal (United), was away in Bengaluru yesterday in connection with poll preparations of his party, which is contesting a number of seats in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections.
"The chief minister took note of Rabri Devi's letter and asked the home department to explain when, why and what level was the decision taken to change security arrangements in place at 10, Circular Road, which is a government bungalow allotted for life to two former chief ministers," the release said.
"The Chief Minister also issued instructions for restoration of the security arrangements that were in place," it said.
However, reacting to the development, Rabri told reporters, "I need no security. The people of Bihar and workers of my party will take care of my safety. But if anything untoward happens to any member of my family, the state government shall be held responsible".
"I demand an explanation from the government, headed by Nitish Kumar and (Deputy CM) Sushil Kumar Modi as to why and at what level a decision for such a spiteful action was taken in the first place. Only then will I decide whether or not to accept restoration of security arrangements," she said.
When pointed out that security personnel and escort vehicles had already arrived outside her residence, she said, "They are standing on a public road. I have nothing to do with that".