Patna, May 13 (IANS) He's super rich, he's got the right political connections in Bihar and he's dangerous. Meet Bindeshwari Prasad Yadav alias Bindi, the father of Rocky Yadav who allegedly killed teenager Aditya Sachdeva in Gaya in a case of road rage.
There was a time in the 1980s when Bindi was a "petty criminal" in Gaya, "caught for stealing a bicycle", as locals recount. He was a small fry, though, in the criminal ecosystem of the Bihar town.
But Bindi seemingly had ambition to make it big. So, in the early 1990s, he teamed up with another goon, Bachchu, to indulge in various crimes in Gaya over a period of three years. The duo, known locally as Bindia-Bachua, spared no one who crossed their path.
They gained notoriety by grabbing prime properties and land in Gaya town. Their guns did the talking and the region reeled under the shadow of fear.
That was the time when Lalu Prasad was at the helm of the Bihar government. Crime flourished in Bihar, powered by dreaded criminals like Surendra Yadav, Rajendra Yadav and Maheshwar Yadav. Bindi and Bachchu joined the bandwagon.
Their brutal ways, however, forced the government to take action: officers known to be 'strict' were deputed as the district magistrate and SP in Gaya. They invoked the stringent Control of Crimes Act to tame Bindi and Bachchu.
That was the catalyst for Bindi to realise that he would require political backing to survive. In the late 1990s, he joined Lalu Prasad's outfit, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). With that, he began a journey to transform himself from a criminal to a politician.
With the RJD's support, Bindi was elected unopposed as the chairman of Gaya District Board in 2001. He held that position till 2006.
In the meantime, he tried his luck at the hustings in 2005 as an Independent candidate from Gaya (rural), as he was denied an RJD ticket for the assembly election. But he failed to garner enough votes to make it to the assembly.
He unsuccessfully contested the assembly election again in 2010 from Gurua, this time on the RJD ticket. In his affidavit, he had declared 18 criminal cases against him. Apparently, Lalu Prasad had ignored Bindi's track record as a criminal to promote his political career. It didn't work though.
So, after Nitish Kumar came to power in 2010, Bindi switched his loyalties to the Janata Dal-United. But the image-conscious chief minister was averse to backing a criminal.
In 2011, when Bindi was arrested, he was found to be in possession of an AK-47 rifle, a self-loading rifle and over 4,000 cartridges.
The bicycle thief changed his ways after this incident. He used his proximity to the JD-U and the RJD to secure several government contracts that helped him boost his fortunes.
It is also believed that Bindi has close contacts with the Maoists. So most of the government contracts of developmental projects in the rebel-affected areas go to Bindi. And there lies the secret behind Bindi's journey from being a petty criminal to a businessman rolling in money.
It seems successive Bihar governments overlooked his antecedents. His arms licences were not reviewed even though the number of cases against him went up to 19. According to the latest figures, there are at least 11 cases against Bindi, including that of kidnapping and murder.
Today, Bindi Yadav owns malls, hotels, 15 petrol pumps in Gaya, Bodh Gaya, Delhi and adjoining areas. He has business interests in sectors as diverse as road, construction and liquor.
No wonder then that his son Rocky drove an SUV worth Rs.1.5 crore and brandished an Italian-made .32 bore pistol with which Aditya was killed.
It's also not surprising then that Bindi managed to ensure his wife Manorama Devi became a JD-U member of the Bihar Legislative Council in 2015. His own political career was rough, but he has been the powerhouse behind his politician wife.
However, Bindi's luck may be running out. He was arrested for allegedly facilitating his son's escape. His MLC wife has been suspended after liquor bottles were found in her house despite prohibition in the state. His son's alleged crime had led to massive public outrage and a political furore.
So it now remains to be seen what course of action the government takes. Will Bindi and his ilk face the long arm of the law or will the "jungle raj" in Bihar return?
(Imran Khan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)