The Income Tax Department on August 29th, questioned RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Yadav in connection with its alleged benami assets probe against them and others in land deals worth Rs 1,000 crore. Officials said the two were summoned by the department and the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case recorded their statements after they appeared today at the I-T office here.
Prasad’s MP daughter Misa Bharti also accompanied her mother and brother to the I-T office.
They said the two were questioned about the alleged benami assets that the department suspects have been created by them along with their other family members. A special I-T team from Delhi has flown to Bihar capital to assist the IO of the case and take the probe forward, they said. None of them spoke to the waiting media personnel after they exited the I-T office in the evening.
With the news of the questioning of the Prasad family coming out, a large number of RJD supporters and common people gathered at the I-T office in the heart of the town.
Additional police force had to be rushed in to the tax department office to control the crowd. There was no reaction from the RJD president till late in the evening on the development.
Prasad’s close aide and MLA Bhola Yadav said the three had themselves volunteered to appear before the I-T officials after they failed to do so late last month.
The department had earlier questioned Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar in this case.
The department had served notices of attachment of assets in June to Lalu, Rabri, Tejashwi (former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister) and Lalu’s daughters Chanda, Ragini Yadav, Bharti and son-in-law Kumar.
It had attached about a dozen plots and buildings in Delhi and Bihar including a farm house and land in the Palam Vihar area, a residential building in the upmarket New Friends Colony area of south Delhi, nine plots on a 256.75 decimal land area in Phulwari Sharif area in Patna, where a shopping mall was being constructed, among few others in the same area in Bihar’s capital.
The department has said these alleged benami assets bear a “deed” value of about Rs 9.32 crore but the taxman has estimated their current market value at Rs 170-180 crore.
Benami properties are those in which the real beneficiary is not the one in whose name the property has been purchased.
The department is also expected to file a complaint in a competent court against the Lalu Prasad family in this case.
The Lalu family has called these cases to be borne out of “political vendetta” againt them. The RJD chief had organised ‘BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao’ (Banish BJP, Save Country) rally in Patna on Sunday, attended by several key opposition leaders.