CBI to examine former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad in land for jobs case tomorrow

Lalu Prasad Yadav. File photo: Manorama

Patna/New Delhi: The CBI on Monday questioned former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi at her Patna residence and has issued notice to her husband and former railway minister Lalu Prasad in connection with the further probe in the land-for-jobs scam case, officials said.

The agency officials came in four cars at 10, Circular Road bungalow, a stone's throw from the official residence of the Bihar chief minister and the Raj Bhavan, at around 10.30 am and spent five hours inside.

A similar notice has been issued to RJD supremo and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad as well and he will be questioned on Tuesday at the premises of his daughter Misa Bharti in Delhi, the officials said.

It was not a search or raid, they said, adding CBI had issued notice to Rabri Devi following which she showed her availability on Monday and the team visited her residence to question her.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already filed its charge sheet in the case. The special court summoned the accused, including Prasad and his family members and others on March 15.

The agency has kept the probe open into the alleged scam and the new round of questioning of Yadav family members is in connection with "further investigation" in the case, they said.

The team might also seek some additional documents from the family of Lalu Prasad related to the case of alleged land transfer to them in exchange for appointments in Group D posts in railways during 2004-2009.

Prasad's son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav alleged that CBI's action was a result of his family's "relentless opposition" to the BJP.

"It is an open secret that probe agencies are acting against political opponents of the BJP and helping those who agree to align with that party," the RJD leader told reporters outside the Bihar Assembly.

He also claimed that his father had "no powers" to provide employment in exchange for favours as the then railway minister.

Other parties like the Congress and AAP too attacked the central government over the CBI action and alleged that the BJP wants to "suppress" the voice of the Opposition.

"Today Rabri Devi ji is being harassed. Lalu Prasad ji and his family have been harassed for years because they did not bow down," Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted.

Reacting to the CBI action, AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that targeting and harassing opposition leaders is wrong.

The BJP, however, asserted that the CBI was "doing its job as an independent agency" and Prasad was "reaping what he had sown".

"Lalu Prasad's brush with CBI has been long. The fodder scam cases, in which he has been convicted, were lodged much before the BJP came into the picture," said senior BJP leader and former state minister Nitin Nabin.

A number of RJD supporters reached Rabri Devi's residence to protest against the CBI action, with some of them taking off their clothes and vowing to wipe out the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls next year.

Rabri Devi's elder son and Bihar minister Tej Pratap Yadav, who stays a few hundred metres, rushed to his mother's place riding a bicycle.

Rabri Devi looked unruffled when she emerged from her house after the CBI sleuths left and smiled at those present outside the premises before her car sped towards the legislature building.

Oppn parties accuse govt of misusing central agencies

On Sunday, leaders of eight opposition parties including Tejashwi Yadav wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the government of misusing central agencies "to settle scores with opposition parties".

RJD MLC and close aide Sunil Kumar Singh, who is one of the accused in the case, took a swipe at the CBI.

About eight to nine people had come. I was left wondering what did they want to achieve. They just whiled away time. I wonder whether they had come to have a Holi Milan ahead of the festival, said Singh.

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.

For this, 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 family members of Prasad, it was alleged.

It was alleged that about 1,05,292 sq ft of land in Patna was acquired by the family members of Prasad from these 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 land's value, as per the existing circle rate, was about Rs 4.39 crore.

The land was directly purchased by the family members of Prasad from the sellers at a rate lower than the prevalent circle rate.

The prevalent market value of the land was much higher than the circle rate.

It was alleged that due procedure and guidelines issued by the railway authority for the appointment of substitutes were not followed and, later on, their services had also regularised.

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