Rs 1 cr in unaccounted cash seized, Rs 600 cr in proceeds of crime detected in raids against Lalu Prasad's family: ED

CBI officials arrive at the residence of Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Misa Bharti (seen at back) to question her father and party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in land-for-jobs case, in New Delhi, Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday said it has seized "unaccounted cash" of Rs 1 crore and detected proceeds of crime worth Rs 600 crore after it raided RJD chief Lalu Prasad's family in connection with a money laundering case linked to the railways land for job 'scam' linked money laundering case.

It said the investigation is underway to unearth more investments made on behalf of Prasad's family and their associates in various sectors, including real estate, at various places.

The ED had launched raids on Friday at multiple locations linked to Prasad's family members including that of his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav in Delhi.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had recently questioned Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi -- former chief ministers of Bihar -- in the case.

It is alleged that people were given employment in the railways in return for land parcels gifted or sold at cheap rates to the Yadav family and its associates during Prasad's tenure as the railway minister in the UPA government from 2004 to 2009,.

Tejashwi Yadav too was called for questioning by CBI on Saturday but did not appear and has sought a fresh date citing personal reasons, officials said.

In a statement on Saturday, the ED said, "Searches resulted in the recovery of unaccounted cash of Rs 1 crore, foreign currency including USD 1,900, 540 gms gold bullion and more than 1.5 kg of gold jewellery worth about Rs1.25 crore."

"Several other incriminating documents including various property documents, sale deeds, etc. held in the names of family members (of Lalu Prasad) and benamidaars indicating illegal accretion of huge land bank and electronic devices," it said.

It said the raids resulted in the "detection of proceeds of crime amounting to about Rs 600 crore at this point of time which is in the form of immovable properties of Rs 350 crore and transactions of Rs 250 crore routed through various benamidaars".

Making a specific mention about Tejashwi Yadav, the ED said a property situated at D-1088, New Friends Colony in south Delhi is an independent 4-storied bungalow registered in the name of A B Exports Private Limited.

This company has been called a "beneficiary firm" in this case.

The ED said this company is "owned and controlled" by Tejashwi Yadav and his family and this house was shown to have been acquired at a value of a mere Rs 4 lakh while the present market value of which is approximately Rs 150 crore.

"It is suspected that huge amount of cash/proceeds of crime has been infused in purchasing this property and few Mumbai-based entities, dealing in the gems and jewellery sector were used to channel ill-gotten proceeds of crime in this regard," the ED alleged.

"The property has been though, on paper, declared as an office of A B Exports Private Limited and AK Infosystems Pvt ltd, it is being exclusively used as residential premises by Tejaswi Prasad Yadav, son of Lalu Prasad Yadav," it said.

During the searches, Tejaswi Prasad Yadav was found to be staying at this house and was found to be using this house as his residential property, the ED said.

The agency said its probe found that four parcels of lands acquired by the family of Lalu Prasad in just Rs 7.5 lakh from poor Group-D applicants were sold to Syed Abu Dojana, ex-RJD MLA, by Rabri Devi with huge gains at Rs 3.5 crore in a "collusive" deal.

The probe found that a major portion of the amount thus received, was transferred to the account of Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, it said.

Investigations revealed that in a similar fashion, lands were taken from several poor parents and candidates for Group D jobs in the Railways.

"It has been revealed during the investigation that in many Railways Zones, more than 50 per cent of recruited candidates were from Lalu Yadav families' constituencies," it said.

The investigation is underway to unearth more investments made on behalf of Lalu Yadav's family and their associates in various sectors, including real estate at various places, the ED said.

The agency added that while carrying out the searches, all legal formalities were fully observed and due courtesy was extended to the women, children and senior citizens present at the search premises. 

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