RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s family literally woke up to to a shock today after they found the CBI at the doorstep of his Patna home. A similar raid was being carried out at 11 other locations.
This trouble follows similar scrutiny of Lalu’s family members by other investigative agencies. Recently Income Tax officials had seized an alleged benami house and plot of land owned by Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti.
Even Lalu’s son Tej Pratap Yadav who is the current minister for Health, Minor Water Resources, Environment and Forest in the Bihar government, had received a notice from BPCL for falsely claiming ownership of a land to start a petrol pump. He is also involved an a Patna Zoo Soil scam in which he allegedly gave a Rs 90 lakh contract via Patna Zoo to a company in which he, his mother and siblings were shareholders.
Now that the past has finally caught up with Lalu again, lets look at the whole development:
Why did the raids take place:
According to the CBI, this case pertains to Lalu tweaking a tender process in order to benefit certain hoteliers while he was the Railway Minister in the UPA government. CBI says that it could make out a case of conspiracy and fraud based on the evidence it has so far.
Apparently three acres of land in western Patna was transferred in 2006 to a company called Delight Marketing Private Ltd, which is known to Lalu’s family. The land was subsequently transferred to another company called Lara projects, which reportedly is owned by Lalu’s family. Even though the land was valued at about Rs 32 crores, it was transferred to Lara at just about Rs 65 lakh.
The CBI is also examining tenders that were awarded to private firms for operating railway hotels near stations. A tender awarded for the maintenance of IRCTC Hotels/BNR Hotels in Delhi and Puri in 2006 is also under scrutiny.
BNR hotels, which were dubbed as Heritage Hotels of the Indian Railways, were taken over in 2006 by IRCTC. But these were then transferred to M/s Sujata private limited for maintenance and upkeep. The transfer was done while disregarding the set guidelines.
So who all are accused in the case?
As reported by ANI, various big shots are under the radar of the CBI. This includes Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi and his son Tejashwi. PK Goel, the former Managing Director of IRCTC, the promoters of Hotel Chanakya and Hotel Sujata, and Saira Gupta, the wife of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta are also among the accused.
Which places were raided by the CBI?
A total of 12 places were raided by the CBI today from 7:30 in the morning. These include Lalu’s Patna residence, residence of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta, the New Friends colony in Delhi, Chanakya BNR hotel in Ranchi and residence of former IRCTC MD PK Goyal. Locations in Puri were also raided.
What does Lalu have to say about it?
Initially, nothing. He wasn’t even at his house when the raids took place. He was in Ranchi to appear in his fodder scam case, and said that he would speak later. Later he dubbed everything as a political vendetta.
What did alliance partner Nitish have to say?
Alliance partner Nitish doesn’t seem to have reacted yet and was reported to have had a meeting with Senior Officials. This comes at a critical juncture for him as he has already aggrieved his “Mahagathbandhan” partners by formally backing NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
Things might have turned especially tricky for Nitish as BJP is calling for him to sack Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav and he won’t want to create an image of someone who shelters the corrupt.
The Congress though tried to provied full support for Lalu by questioning the silence of 13 years regarding this matter, thereby also possibly blaming their own government for inaction.
The news has broken that CBI questioned Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav so it remains to be seen if they do the same with Lalu.