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Explained | Why Has the CBI Filed Charges Against Lalu Prasad and 14 Others?

The CBI has filed charges against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, and daughter Misa Bharti, among 14 other people.

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The CBI has filed a charge sheet against former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in connection with a "land-for-jobs" scam that allegedly took place during his tenure as the Minister of Railways between 2004-2009.

The charge sheet also names his wife Rabri Devi, daughter Misa Bharti, and 14 others including a former general manager of the Indian Railways, officials said on Friday, 7 October.

The charge sheet has been filed in a special CBI court. The charges come on the tail of an FIR which had been registered on 18 May, following a preliminary enquiry in September 2021.

On 24 August, the CBI had also raided several premises connected to leaders of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), just hours before the party's coalition with the Janata Dal (United) won a trust vote in the Bihar Assembly on Wednesday, 24 August.

So why does the CBI have its crosshairs on Lalu and the others? What are the allegations in the "land-for-jobs" scam? And what next for the RJD supremo?

Explained | Why Has the CBI Filed Charges Against Lalu Prasad and 14 Others?

  1. 1. What is the "Land-For-Jobs" Case?

    The CBI has alleged that Lalu Prasad had, during his tenure as Union Minister of Railways from 2004 to 2009, obtained pecuniary advantages in the form of transfers of land and property in the name of his family members and associates, to ensure the appointment of about 12 substitutes in Group D posts in different zones of the Indian Railways.

    "About 1,05,292 square feet of land/immovable properties situated at Patna were acquired by family members of said minister through 5 sale deeds and 2 gift deeds, showing the payment made to seller in cash in most of the land transfer."
    CBI statement, May 2022

    As per the CBI, Yadav's family had acquired over one lakh square feet of land, valued to the tune of Rs 4.20 crore, in exchange for a number of hastily-made appointments to entry-grade posts in the Indian Railways.

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  2. 2. What Are The Allegations Against Lalu Prasad and Others?

    The CBI has leveled the following allegations against Lalu Prasad:

    • That, about 12 candidates were allegedly appointed as substitutes in Group D positions within three days of applying. The appointments were allegedly made in "undue haste," by railway officials, and were later regularised.

    • The substitutes, who were residents of Patna or had family living in Patna, were alleged to have sold or gifted their land in the city to family members of Yadav in transactions that were favourable to the family.

    • That a private company called AK Infosystems Private Limited was involved in handling the transfers of the immovable properties, but that this company was also owned/run by the members of Lalu Prasad's family.

    • That no advertisement or public notice was issued for the appointment of substitutes in Zonal Railways.

    • The appointees, though they were residents of Patna, were appointed as substitutes in different Zonal Railways located at Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Hazipur.

    “Out of seven instances of land transfer, it is revealed that three sale deeds were executed in favour of Rabri Devi, wife of Lalu Yadav, one sale deed was executed in the name of Misha Bharti, daughter of Lalu Prasad Yadav, one sale deed was executed in favour of M/s AK Infosystems Private Limited, in which later Rabri Devi became major shareholder, in the year 2014 and currently she is one of the Director of the Company. Two gift deeds were executed in favour of Hema Yadav, daughter of Lalu Prasad Yadav.”
    Excerpt of FIR
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  3. 3. What Action Has the CBI Taken So Far?

    Apart from the charge sheet, on 24 August, the CBI raided 25 locations in Delhi, Gurugram, Patna, Madhubani, and Kathar, including at an under-construction mall in Gurugram allegedly being built by a firm owned by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, all in connection with the land-for-jobs case.

    The raids came just hours ahead of the RJD-JD(U) alliance trust vote to prove their majority in the Bihar Assembly. The RJD's leadership condemned the raids calling them "targeted".

    "It is being done intentionally. There is no meaning to it. They are doing it thinking that out of fear, MLAs will come in their favour."
    Sanjay Singh, RJD MLC

    The homes of four senior Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders – Sunil Singh, Ashfaque Karim, Faiyaz Ahmed, and Subodh Rai – were among those raided hours before the party's coalition was set to prove its majority in the floor test in the Bihar Assembly.

    "It's a raid by the BJP. They work under the BJP now, their offices are run with the BJP's script. Today is the floor test and what's happening here? It has become predictable," senior RJD leader Manoj Jha said.

    Expand
  4. 4. Has Anyone Been Arrested in Connection With The Case?

    On 27 July 2022, the CBI arrested the former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Lalu Prasad, Bhola Yadav, and another employee of the railways who was appointed as a substitute during Yadav's tenure as Railways Minister.

    "During investigation, it was found that then OSD to former Railway Minister during the period 2005-2009 was involved in the alleged conspiracy in appointment of substitute," the CBI had said in a statement.

    "It was further alleged that the accused was managing affairs in transfer of land by the family members of substitutes to the family members of former Railway Minister and also engaging of substitutes in Railway. It was also alleged that the said accused had acquired some properties during the relevant period," the CBI added.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What is the "Land-For-Jobs" Case?

The CBI has alleged that Lalu Prasad had, during his tenure as Union Minister of Railways from 2004 to 2009, obtained pecuniary advantages in the form of transfers of land and property in the name of his family members and associates, to ensure the appointment of about 12 substitutes in Group D posts in different zones of the Indian Railways.

"About 1,05,292 square feet of land/immovable properties situated at Patna were acquired by family members of said minister through 5 sale deeds and 2 gift deeds, showing the payment made to seller in cash in most of the land transfer."
CBI statement, May 2022

As per the CBI, Yadav's family had acquired over one lakh square feet of land, valued to the tune of Rs 4.20 crore, in exchange for a number of hastily-made appointments to entry-grade posts in the Indian Railways.

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What Are The Allegations Against Lalu Prasad and Others?

The CBI has leveled the following allegations against Lalu Prasad:

  • That, about 12 candidates were allegedly appointed as substitutes in Group D positions within three days of applying. The appointments were allegedly made in "undue haste," by railway officials, and were later regularised.

  • The substitutes, who were residents of Patna or had family living in Patna, were alleged to have sold or gifted their land in the city to family members of Yadav in transactions that were favourable to the family.

  • That a private company called AK Infosystems Private Limited was involved in handling the transfers of the immovable properties, but that this company was also owned/run by the members of Lalu Prasad's family.

  • That no advertisement or public notice was issued for the appointment of substitutes in Zonal Railways.

  • The appointees, though they were residents of Patna, were appointed as substitutes in different Zonal Railways located at Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Hazipur.

“Out of seven instances of land transfer, it is revealed that three sale deeds were executed in favour of Rabri Devi, wife of Lalu Yadav, one sale deed was executed in the name of Misha Bharti, daughter of Lalu Prasad Yadav, one sale deed was executed in favour of M/s AK Infosystems Private Limited, in which later Rabri Devi became major shareholder, in the year 2014 and currently she is one of the Director of the Company. Two gift deeds were executed in favour of Hema Yadav, daughter of Lalu Prasad Yadav.”
Excerpt of FIR
0

The FIR alleges that the total value of the transferred immovable property amounts to about Rs 4.39 crore which was paid in cash for land measuring around 1.05 lakh acres.

The central agency had filed the case after it raided 16 locations in Delhi, Patna, and Gopalganj on 20 May 2022.

The raids at the locations linked to the RJD, including a mall linked to Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, come two weeks after the JD(U) ended its alliance with the ruling BJP and joined hands with Yadav's RJD.

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What Action Has the CBI Taken So Far?

Apart from the charge sheet, on 24 August, the CBI raided 25 locations in Delhi, Gurugram, Patna, Madhubani, and Kathar, including at an under-construction mall in Gurugram allegedly being built by a firm owned by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, all in connection with the land-for-jobs case.

The raids came just hours ahead of the RJD-JD(U) alliance trust vote to prove their majority in the Bihar Assembly. The RJD's leadership condemned the raids calling them "targeted".

"It is being done intentionally. There is no meaning to it. They are doing it thinking that out of fear, MLAs will come in their favour."
Sanjay Singh, RJD MLC

The homes of four senior Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders – Sunil Singh, Ashfaque Karim, Faiyaz Ahmed, and Subodh Rai – were among those raided hours before the party's coalition was set to prove its majority in the floor test in the Bihar Assembly.

"It's a raid by the BJP. They work under the BJP now, their offices are run with the BJP's script. Today is the floor test and what's happening here? It has become predictable," senior RJD leader Manoj Jha said.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Has Anyone Been Arrested in Connection With The Case?

On 27 July 2022, the CBI arrested the former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Lalu Prasad, Bhola Yadav, and another employee of the railways who was appointed as a substitute during Yadav's tenure as Railways Minister.

"During investigation, it was found that then OSD to former Railway Minister during the period 2005-2009 was involved in the alleged conspiracy in appointment of substitute," the CBI had said in a statement.

"It was further alleged that the accused was managing affairs in transfer of land by the family members of substitutes to the family members of former Railway Minister and also engaging of substitutes in Railway. It was also alleged that the said accused had acquired some properties during the relevant period," the CBI added.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Lalu Prasad Yadav   Lalu 

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