I was the Assistant SP of Barh way back in 1997. Barh is a sub-division in Patna Rural and the ASP, Barh job is one of the toughest police jobs in the state. Barh is bigger than several small districts. And a hotbed of criminals. The area is dotted with “diaras” (river islands) where kidnappers keep their hostages for ransom. Then, there is the “taal” (low-lying) area where criminals on horseback terrorise people. The Mokama town is infested with criminal gangs armed with AK 47 and AK56! Gangwars claim dozens of life every year. And to top it all, there is the Ladma village under the Barh police station. The village of Anant Singh aka Chhote Sarkar whose terror puts Amrish Puri and Amjad Khan to shame. Anant Singh is Magambo and Gabbar Singh rolled into one. When I was the ASP, Anant kept a low profile. His brother Dileep Singh was a Minister in the Laloo Yadav Govt and Anant Singh basked in his glory! As the mantriji’s bhai, he had enough clout and nobody dared to cross his path. But he was far from being a don.
Anant Singh’s rise to “super stardom” coincides with Nitish Kumar’s rise on the political horizon.
When Nitish began to challenge Lalu in Bihar, the former needed a “bahubali” (a muscleman). Lalu already had Shahabuddin. Nitish began to court Anant Singh. Like a chaprasi, Nitish Kumar began to greet Anant Singh with folded hands. Anant Singh had a running feud with his casteman Viveka Pahalwan. When Anant Singh’s eldest brother Fajo Singh was gunned down by Viveka’s sharp shooters, Nitish rushed to his village Ladma to cosole Chhote Sarkar. Lalan Singh, a Bihar Minister, accompanied him. The “shraadh” ceremony of Fajo Singh was attended by Sushasan Babu himself. Anant Singh’s stature grew by leaps and bounds. The mafia don emerged as Bihar’s Super Chief Minister. In 2009, my “khabris” (police informers) told me that Anant Singh had amassed a big cache of illegal weapons at his Ladma house. By that time, I figured very high on the Sushasan Mafia hit list. But I fearlessly sent a report on my letter-pad detailing Anant Singh’s weapons. The letter was dated 5th March, 2009. When the letter reached the Bihar Police Headquarters, top IPS officers were paralysed with fear. Nobody dared to touch the Super CM of Bihar who called Nitish Kumar “Nitishwa”! I was attacked, left, right and centre and immediately sent to Punjab to conduct polls there!
Anant Singh lived life king-size like maharajas of bygone days. He had a horse- carriage custom-made for himself. He came to the Bihar Assembly in his royal buggy. He started seizing buildings in and around Patna at gunpoint. He opened Patna Central Mall on the Frazer Road, Hotel Buddha Heritage in the Pataliputra Colony and Hotel Buddha Inn in SK Puri. But Nitish Kumar was busy carrying out “surgical strikes” on Amitabh Kumar Das, the supercop who was challenging Anant Singh.
In 2015, Anant Singh was arrested under Lalu’s pressure after his henchmen murdered Putush Yadav. Nitish was an ally of Lalu during those pre-antaratma days and Lalu was concerned about his Yadav vote bank slipping away. But when Anant Singh’s bail plea came up for hearing, the Bihar Govt didn’t oppose it and Chhote Sarkar walked out of the Beur Jail twirling his handlebar moustache.
Anant Singh, the Super CM of Bihar, had a TV journalist Prakash Singh thrashed at his house. Again, he was arrested under media pressure but got bail soon.
The Anant-Nitish equation changed during Lok Sabha polls 2019 when Anant Singh’s wife Neelam Devi fought against Lalan Singh, a Nitish loyalist from Munger. Now Lalan Singh is breathing down Nitish Kumar’s neck to act against Anant Singh. Therefore Sushasan Babu’s antaratma has woken up from deep slumber and the Barh police have raided Anant Singh’s Ladma house seizing an AK 47. Only ten years after I informed the Police Headquarters about Anant’s armoury! Interestingly, the ASP Barh Ms Lipi Singh happens to be the daughter of RCP Singh, a JDU MP and Nitish Kumar’s fellow Kurmi casteman! Whatever happens now, one thing is certain. Nitish Kumar made Anant Singh the Super Chief Minister of Bihar. After riding a tiger for decades, he is trying to disown the tiger. But he can very well end up inside the tiger’s stomach!
(Mr. Amitabh Kumar Das is a 1994 batch IPS Officer. On the 5th March 2009, he had sent a report to the then Chief Electoral Officer against Anant Singh in which he had stated that the Mokama MLA had an armoury of illegal weapons including AK47s. His views expressed here are personal.)