Trouble mounts for Lalu: I-T Department seizes benami assets of Misa, Tejaswi

Trouble continues to mount for Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members who face a barrage of corruption charges.

The Income Tax Department on Monday seized the benami properties of Lalu’s daughter and Rajya Sabha member Misa Bharti, son-in-law Shailesh Kumar and his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav in Gurugram, Delhi and Rewari.

It could be noted that the I-T department had issued summons to Misa and her husband Shailesh – owners of M/s Mishail Packers and Printers Private Limited – last month in connection with the benami assets and tax evasion. But they didn’t turn up for appearance. As per the Benami Act, those suspected of carrying out benami transactions are given 90-day time to explain the transactions, failing which the I-T Department is authorised to initiate action.

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“Investigation is ongoing and necessary action has been taken today (Monday),” an I-T official was quoted as saying.

The summons were issued days after the arrest of Bharti’s chartered accountant Rakesh Agrawal in connection with an Enforcement Directorate probe into a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering racket involving two Delhi-based businessmen and a few political entities. Agrawal was arrested under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for allegedly being instrumental in providing accommodation entries to launder the money of businessmen brothers – Virendra and Surendra Jain.

Lalu’s daughter and Rajya Sabha member Misa Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar – who together won M/s Mishail Packers and Printers Private Limited – had reportedly purchased lands in some of the most luxurious enclaves of the union capital under highly suspicious circumstances. Further, the couple had allegedly acquired a farmhouse in Delhi through intriguing transactions.

The I-T Department, last month , had conducted raids on Lalu’s associates at 22 locations in and around Delhi in connection to the Rs 1,000 crore Benami land deals involving Lalu Prasad and his family members. There are allegations that Lalu Prasad had used front company to acquire prime residential property in Delhi.

Lalu’s family is also at the centre of another land scam – Patna zoo soil scam. His younger son Tej Pratap – the incumbent minister for Health, Minor Water Resources, Environment and Forest in Bihar – had awarded a Rs 90-lakh contract in Patna zoo to a company in which the incumbent Bihar minister, his siblings and mother are shareholders.

Further, it has also come to the light that Lalu’s younger Tej Pratap had allegedly secured a petrol pump from the state-run Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) by falsely claiming ownership of the land.

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