The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Bhola Yadav, the former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) of ex-Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, in the alleged land-for-jobs case, officials said on Wednesday, 27 July.
The agency also carried out searches at four locations across the state – two in Patna and the other two in Darbhanga, belonging to Bhola Yadav –reported news agency PTI.
The CBI also said that it has arrested a railway employee, Hridayanand Chaudhary, who is an alleged beneficiary of the scam.
He had served as OSD to the former Bihar CM from 2005 to 2009.
'Arrested Because We Oppose BJP': RJD
The RJD, however, cried foul and alleged that the arrest was the result of the party's opposition to the ruling BJP at the Centre.
"It is no secret that agencies like CBI, ED and the IT department are being used to harass BJP's political opponents. Bhola babu's arrest is parakashtha (the limit)," state RJD Spokesman Shakti Singh Yadav said.
The BJP, responding to this, said that most cases involving the RJD supremo and his associates were lodged while the party ruled Bihar or shared power with the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.
Additionally, BJP leader and state minister Nitin Nabin Prasad said that the RJD was "reaping what they have sown."
He also pointed out that Prasad and his family members were also named in the land-for-hotels scam which, like the land-for-jobs scam, was related to Yadav's railway ministership.
"All those who have been guilty of wrongdoing will face action by the agencies which are functioning independently," he added.
The Case & What the CBI Said
The case relates to the alleged purchase or transfer of land measuring over one lakh square feet, belonging to job aspirants' families in Patna, to Prasad's family members, in return for group-D jobs in the Indian Railways.
The central agency arrested Yadav on the suspicion that he played a crucial role in facilitating the jobs and later, the transferring of land to the former minister's family.
"During investigation, it was found that the then OSD to former railway minister...was involved in the alleged conspiracy in appointment of substitutes. 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," a CBI spokesperson said in a statement.
The agency further added that Yadav had also purchased some properties during the period.
The CBI further added that it filed an FIR on 18 May against Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, his daughters Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav, and 12 others who were given jobs in the railway zones of Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Hajipur.
The FIR was followed by searches at Prasad's residence in Patna and other locations on 20 May.
It alleged that people were appointed in the railways without any advertisement or public notice issued for the purpose on the basis of forged documents.
"The current value of the above said seven parcels of land, including the land acquired through gift deeds, as per the existing circle rate is about Rs 4.39 crore.... Enquiry has revealed that the parcel of land, which was directly purchased by the family members of Lalu Prasad Yadav from the sellers, was purchased at lower rates than the prevailing circle rates," the FIR alleged.
In the wake of the latest developments, the RJD alleged that "the latest CBI case and the raids conducted across the country in connection with the same are sponsored by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules at the Centre."
(With inputs from PTI.)
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