Video Producer: Mayank Chawla
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Raids by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took place at the homes of four Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders, namely Sunil Singh, Ashfaque Karim, Faiyaz Ahmed, and Subodh Rai, on Wednesday, 24 August, ahead of the floor test in the Bihar Assembly.
While Singh is the treasurer of RJD and an MLC, Karim and Ahmed are Rajya Sabha MPs, and Rai a former MLC.
The raids are in connection with the alleged 'land-for-jobs' scam from the time when RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was the railway minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
"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," RJD MLC Sanjay Singh was quoted as saying by ANI.
Searches were conducted in 25 places in connection with the alleged scam in Patna, Madhubani, Kathar, Delhi, and Gurugram.
Searches were also undertaken at the premises of Biscomaun, of which Singh is the chairperson.
Supporters of Singh also gathered outside his residence in Patna and staged a protest against the CBI.
This comes a month after the CBI arrested Bhola Yadav, former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Lalu Yadav, when the latter was the railway minister.
BJP Sends Three 'Jamais' When It Loses a State: Tejashwi Yadav
Hitting out at the BJP during the floor-test, Bihar Deputy CM and RJD leader, Tejashwi Yadav said that the Centre uses its 3 Jamais – Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax Department and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) – against Opposition leaders, when it does not have a upper hand in a state.
"When BJP fears or loses in a state, it puts ahead its three jamais CBI, ED and IT... when I go to foreign countries, BJP issues lookout notices against me and when fraudsters like Nirav Modi run away, they don't do anything," he said, while speaking in the Bihar Legislative Assembly.
'All Central Agencies Work as per BJP': RJD MP Manoj Jha
On Tuesday night, Lalu and Tejashwi Yadav had called a meeting of all the party's MLAs and MLCs, and reportedly told them to be careful with regard to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and other central investigating agencies.
"Our Deputy CM had said in the meeting yesterday that they (Centre) will reach this level now. It didn't take even 24 hours. They stooped even lower. What is this anger? That a government didn't run as per you? That it changed the alliance for public welfare?" RJD Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha said.
He also said that it was "useless" to say that the raids were being conducted by central agencies, like the ED or the CBI.
"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," Jha added.
Former CM and Lalu Yadav's wife Rabri Devi also slammed the raids, saying, "Attempts are being made to scare us with CBI raids, but we are not afraid of them. The public is our family and our family is watching everything."
The BJP, however, fired back, claiming that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar himself had alleged that crores of rupees were seized from Biscomaun.
"BJP does not implicate anyone. One-and-a-half years ago, CM Nitish Kumar himself had complained that crores of rupees were caught from Biscomaun. Maybe it (raids) is part of that," Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal said, as per ANI.
What is the Alleged 'Land-for-Jobs' Scam?
The CBI has alleged that former CM Lalu Yadav gave jobs to people in exchange of land plots in the form of bribes when he was the railway minister in UPA-1.
According to the central agency, at least 12 people were assigned in Group D posts in the Indian Railways during Yadav's tenure.
In return, Yadav's family got seven plots of land in Patna, and in other places, from the families of all those who had been given jobs.
The CBI says that his family acquired more than 1 lakh sq ft of land in the form of bribes for a paltry sum of Rs 26 lakh at a time when the value of the land was estimated to be more than Rs 4 crore, The Indian Express reported.
A total of 16 people, including Yadav, his wife, and some of his children, have been named in the First Information Report (FIR).
The CBI had begun its preliminary probe in the case, also known as the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) scam, in September 2021.
Bihar Floor Test
The Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led newly formed Bihar government proved its majority in the floor test held on Wednesday, 24 August, with the support of 160 MLAs.
BJP MLAs walked out of the assembly shortly before the voting started.
The Assembly, which started the floor test on Wednesday afternoon, had been adjourned following Bihar Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha's resignation from the post.
The current effective strength of the Assembly is 243, and any party or alliance needs to meet the magic number of 122 MLAs to prove its strength in the house.
"We've come here for the Assembly Session. As far as raids are concerned, it's an independent agency doing its work," said former deputy CM Tarkishore Prasad had said earlier on Wednesday.
"The manner in which they worked, they'll have to face punishment. Why was this day chosen (for raids on RJD leaders) is something that the CBI will tell you. The Bihar Assembly is a constitutional institution, a temple. Whatever will be done here will be done as per rules," he added.
The Mahagathbandhan comprises eight political parties, namely the RJD with 79 seats, JD(U) (45), Congress (19), CPI-ML (12), HAMS (4), CPI (2), CPM (2), and the AIMIM (1).
(With inputs from ANI, PTI and The Indian Express.)