RJD leader and former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi and their daughter Misa Bharti, who appeared before a Delhi court on Wednesday, were granted bail in connection with a case related to the alleged land-for-job scam.
The court noted that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed the chargesheet without arrest. It directed every accused to furnish Rs 50,000 personal bail bond and a like amount as surety.
Yadav, 74, who underwent a kidney transplant recently and was in a wheel chair, reached the Rouse Avenue court today around 10 am but proceedings were delayed.
The family appeared before Special Judge Geetanjali Goel around 11 am.
The scam so far
The case relates to alleged appointments made in the railways in return for land parcels gifted or sold to Prasad's family when he was the minister of railways between 2004 and 2009.
The CBI in its charge sheet alleged that irregular appointments were made in the railways, violating the laid down norms and procedures of Indian Railways for recruitment.
It alleged that as a quid pro quo, the candidates directly or through their immediate relatives and family members sold land to the family members of RJD chief Prasad, then railway minister, at highly discounted rates up to one-fifth of the prevailing market rates.
Special judge Geetanjali Goel had on February 27 issued summons to the accused persons, including Prasad's daughter Misa Bharti, and directed them to appear before the court on March 15.
"A perusal of the charge sheet and the documents and material on record prima facie shows commission of offences under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy), read with sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc.), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using forged document as genuine) of the IPC and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Accordingly, cognizance is taken of the said offences,” the judge had said.
The judge had noted that the charge sheet was filed without arrest in respect of the accused persons except one who is on bail at present.
In July 2022, the CBI arrested Bhola Yadav, who used to be the officer on special duty (OSD) to Lalu Prasad when he was the railway minister, in the case.
What did the chargesheet say?
The chargesheet was filed on October 10 last year for offences of criminal conspiracy and corruption against 16 accused persons.
The final report also named former general manager of Central Railway Sowmya Raghavan, former CPO Railways Kamal Deep Mainrai, seven aspirants appointed as substitutes and four private individuals.
According to the chargesheet, the case was registered pursuant to the outcome of a preliminary inquiry against Lalu Prasad and others.
It was alleged in the FIR that some persons, although residents of Patna in Bihar, were appointed as substitutes in Group-D posts during the period 2004-2009 in different zones of the railways located in Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur and Hajipur and in lieu thereof, the individuals themselves or their family members transferred their land in the name of family members of Prasad and a company, AK Infosystems Private Limited, which was subsequently taken over by the family members of Prasad.
It was further alleged that about 1,05,292 square feet land situated in Patna was acquired by the family members of Prasad from those persons through five sale deeds and two gift deeds and in most of the sale deeds, payment to the sellers was mentioned to be paid in cash.
The value of the land as per existing circle rate was about Rs 4.39 crore, the CBI alleged.
The land was directly purchased by the family members of Prasad from the sellers at a rate lower than the prevalent circle rate, the CBI said, adding that the prevalent market value of the land was much higher than the circle rate.
It was alleged that the due procedure and guidelines issued by the railway authority for the appointment of substitutes were not followed and later on, their services had also been regularised.
(With PTI Inputs)