Sources in JD(U) said that though Nitish was not happy with the conduct of ministers nominated by RJD who would take orders from Lalu Prasad, it was the “reliable report” of the latter offering a deal to BJP which turned out to be the tipping point for him.
JD(U) sources alleged that Lalu’s emissaries had approached two Union ministers offering to pull the rug from under Nitish’s feet in lieu of the Centre’s help with legal troubles facing their boss.
Convicted for his complicity in a corruption case+ and, as a result, barred from contesting elections, Lalu had won a big battle when Jharkhand high court endorsed his argument that having already been convicted in the fodder scam case, he could not be tried separately for cases which were part of the larger conspiracy to embezzle money meant to buy animal feed for government-run dairy and poultry forms.
The CBI had challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court and, according to JD (U), RJD wanted the Centre to go easy during the hearing.
The two Union ministers shared details of the purported offer with the leadership and within no time, news of the conspiracy reached Nitish. The CM ran his own check and found the “tip-off ” to be credible — a determination which, JD(U) sources said, deepened the divergence.
On May 8, the Supreme Court struck down the Jharkhand High Court order and ruled that Lalu would have to face trial in each of the cases registered against him in connection with the fodder scam. The top court, in fact, passed severe strictures against the HC judge who gave the verdict .