ED Seizes Land Worth Rs 44.75 Crore Allegedly Owned by Lalu
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized 11 plots of land in Patna worth Rs 44.75 crore, attached by the agency in the name of a firm linked to RJD chief Lalu Prasad's family, on 12 June, as part of the IRCTC hotel money laundering case.
The central probe agency was allowed to take possession of the seized assets by a designated PMLA authority recently.
Officials said possession documents were notified and a huge notice board, bearing the signature of Assistant Director of the Delhi zonal office-I, was put up at the contiguous plots on 12 June, measuring about three acres, in Danapur near the Bihar capital.
The action has been undertaken under section 8 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, they said.
The central probe agency had provisionally attached the plots, valued at Rs 44.75 crore (market rate), in December last year under the PMLA, in connection with the IRCTC hotel allotment case.
The authority, in its recent order, had said that the assets were "involved in money laundering."
The land pieces are in the name of Delight Marketing Co Private Limited, now Lara Projects LLP, whose managing partner is Lalu's wife Rabri Devi, partners are his sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, and Meridian Construction India Limited promoted by Abu Dojana, an MLA of the former Bihar Chief Minister's party – the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD).
In July last year, the agency registered a case against Lalu Prasad, his family members and others under the provisions of the PMLA.
Before this, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a criminal FIR and conducted multiple searches on the properties of Lalu Prasad and others.
The CBI FIR alleged that Lalu Prasad, during his tenure as the railway minister in UPA-I government, handed over the maintenance of two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) hotels to a company in 2004 after receiving a bribe in the form of a prime land in Patna through a benami company owned by Sarla Gupta, the wife of Prem Chand Gupta, a former Union minister and an RJD MP.
The ED registered its criminal case based on this CBI FIR.
The CBI FIR was registered on 5 July in connection with favours allegedly extended to Sujata Hotels in awarding a contract for the upkeep of the hotels in Ranchi and Puri and receiving premium land as "quid pro quo".
The accused can appeal against this order, issued by the authority, before the Appellate Tribunal of the Act.