The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday assured the Delhi High Court it will not arrest Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav this month, after which the politician agreed he will appear before the probe agency on March 25 for questioning in connection with a case related to the alleged land-for-jobs scam.
Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma recorded the CBI counsel's statement that the agency was not contemplating to arrest Tejashwi Yadav this month. Following the assurance, senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing Tejashwi Yadav, submitted to the court that the leader will appear on March 25 before the investigating officer at CBI headquarters in Delhi at 10:30 am.
Noting the submissions of both the sides, the high court disposed of the petition in which Tejashwi Yadav has sought quashing of summons issued to him by the CBI for appearing before it in Delhi.
RJD supremo and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav's son Tejashwi in his plea said he has requested the investigating officer through multiple letters to allow him some time as the current Bihar assembly session will conclude on April 5.
Tejashwi Yadav's lawyer said three summons have been issued to him since February and he has requested the agency that till the budget sessions is going on, either he be allowed to appear in the CBI office in Patna or if any information or documents are required from his side then he shall provide the same through his authorised representative in New Delhi.
He said one of the co-accused was called for questioning to CBI's Delhi office but was arrested. “My apprehension is they will do the same thing to me. Their endeavour is that I come here and they arrest me,” the senior lawyer said on behalf of Tejashwi Yadav, who holds four portfolios in the Bihar government.
To this, CBI's counsel D P Singh said the house does not assemble on Saturdays and Tejashwi Yadav can appear before the agency on any Saturday this month as per his convenience.
As the judge suggested that till April 5, the CBI can make an alternative arrangement to examine Tejashwi Yadav via a video link, the CBI’s lawyer said the Bihar leader's physical presence is necessary as documents have to be shown to him and the agency's chargesheet was ready, which has to be filed in the court this month itself.
CBI’s lawyer, however, assured the court that Tejashwi Yadav will not be arrested this month. To this, senior advocate Maninder Singh said, “but later the investigating officer will say ‘upar se phone aagaya tha. Ye upar ka phone bohat khatarnak hota hai’. The system is not friendly with people like us.”
The case relates to alleged appointments made in the railways in return for land parcels gifted or sold to Lalu Prasad Yadav's family when he was railway minister between 2004 and 2009. The CBI, in its chargesheet, alleged that irregular appointments were made in the railways, violating norms and procedures of the Indian Railways for recruitment.
In his plea, Tejashwi Yadav said section 160 of the CrPC, under which the CBI has issued him summons, states that notices for appearance of a person should be within the local jurisdiction of a police station or within the adjoining police station of the place the person is located.
He said he is a resident of Patna in Bihar and he has been asked to join the investigation in Delhi which is neither within the jurisdiction of Patna nor adjoining the same.
"The petitioner (Tejashwi Yadav) is currently holding a constitutional post as he is serving as the deputy chief minister of Bihar, the minister of health, minister of road construction and public works department, minister of urban development and housing as well as the minister of rural works and development in the Bihar government and is thus, a public servant within a meaning of Section 2(c) of the Prevention and Corruption Act, 1988," the petition said.
"Presently, the petitioner has been living in the state of Bihar and his current address is in Patna," it said. The plea said the petitioner is required to join investigation within three days from receipt of the last notice dated March 11, whereas he had requested the investigating officer through multiple letters to allow him some time as the current Bihar assembly session will conclude on April 5.
He has sought quashing of summons of February 28, March 4 and March 11. The plea said the present investigation is related to allegations against his father and other officers that some people were given jobs in the railways' Group D substitute post in lieu of land parcels that were transferred by them to the family members of Lalu Prasad.
"During such period of time, the petitioner did not have any connection whatsoever with the alleged offence and in fact, the petitioner was a minor during such period. However, the respondent issued the impugned notices with mala fide intention to harass the petitioner without having any basis," it said.
On March 15, a trial court here granted bail to RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, their daughter Misa Bharti and others in connection with the case related to the alleged land-for-jobs scam after they appeared before it.