Protests in Bihar after minister's extortionist husband beats officials

State government officials protested on the streets after Awadesh Mandal the husband of Bima Bharti, the Backward and Extremely Backward Caste Welfare minister, beat them up and threatened to leave them amongst a pack of hounds for allegedly refusing to pay extortion money. Reports say Mandal and some 30 accomplices barged into the office in Purnia district and assaulted three officials with shoes and gun butts, for refusing to pay bribes that he frequently demanded they pay every month. He also abused and threatened to kill them if they failed to pay Rs.5000 each, as he arrived with dogs to terrorise the officials. Angry officials meanwhile have boycotted work and sought the immediate arrest of the accused. The local district magistrate said they were taking all measures to instill a sense of confidence among officials and safety will be provided to the staff. Police have registered a case against the accused Mandal. Minister Bharti who is in the ruling Janata Dal (United) government, defended her husband saying the officials were levelling allegations against him since he had opposed corruption in government offices. Her husband also pleaded innocence saying he had been falsely implicated in the case.