The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday conducted searches at the premises of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav's family and other RJD leaders across cities, in the latest probe in connection with the land for jobs 'scam' case.
Lalu Yadav and family have once again made headlines for their alleged involvement in money laundering in the case. Earlier this week, the Central Bureau of Investigation questioned Lalu as well as his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi in the land-for-jobs scam case. It was only a matter of time before the ED also showed up at their doorsteps.
During the raids, cash worth Rs 53 lakh, USD 1,900, about 540 grams of gold and bullion, and 1.5 kg of gold jewellery were seized, sources in the agency told PTI. About two dozen locations were searched along with an escort of central security forces.
One of the locations searched was a house in south Delhi’s New Friends Colony where Lalu Prasad's son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav was present, they said, adding that it had the registered address of a "beneficiary company", A K Infosystems Pvt Ltd, involved in the case, but was being used as a residential property by the Yadav family.
The searches also covered premises linked to Lalu Prasad's daughters Ragini Yadav, Chanda Yadav and Hema Yadav, former RJD MLA Syed Abu Dojana, Amit Katyal, Navdeep Sardana and Praveen Jain in places such as Patna, Phulwari Sharif, Delhi-NCR, Ranchi and Mumbai, officials said, as per the report.
Dojana briefly appeared on a balcony of his palatial house in Patna to declare to media persons: "I don't know what these people are trying to search at my place". "I only know this much that we are paying the price for not cowing down before the BJP," he said.
What is the land-for-jobs case?
The alleged scam pertains to the time when Lalu Prasad was the railway minister in the UPA government. It was alleged that during the period, 2004-09, various persons were appointed to Group D positions in various railway zones in Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur and Hajipur, in exchange for their land handed over to family members of Lalu Prasad, the then minister of railways, and A K Infosystems Pvt Ltd for a heavily discounted price.
CBI alleges that no advertisement or public notice was issued for the appointment but some residents of Patna were appointed as substitutes.
Ragini Yadav and Chanda Yadav were ex-directors in A K Infosystems Pvt Ltd, which allegedly received a land parcel from a candidate.
Hema Yadav is alleged to be a "beneficiary" of two land parcels, received in lieu of jobs in the Indian Railways, the sources said. Katyal, according to the ED, is a "close associate" of Lalu Prasad, as well as an ex-director of A K Infosystems Pvt Ltd.
The agencies have alleged that Lalu Prasad's family, including his wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, "sold four such land parcels illegally acquired at the cost of Rs 7.5 lakh to a company called Meridian Construction India Ltd, owned and controlled" by Dojana, for a "consideration" amount of Rs 3.5 crore.
The CBI had filed a charge sheet in the case against Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi and 14 others under charges of criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and all the accused have been summoned on March 15, officials had said.
The ED case, filed under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, stems from this CBI complaint.