After Rabri Devi, Lalu Prasad quizzed by CBI in land-for-jobs case

This comes a day after Lalu Prasad’s wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi was quizzed at her Patna residence by the central agency for five hours.

After Rabri Devi, Lalu Prasad quizzed by CBI in land-for-jobs case
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials arrives at the residence of Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Misa Bharti to question her father and party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in land-for-jobs case, in New Delhi, Tuesday, March 7, 2023. (PTI Photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday started questioning former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in connection with the land for jobs case, reported PTI.

This comes a day after his wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi was quizzed at her Patna residence by the central agency for five hours. The CBI headquarters in Delhi maintained that no “search” or “raid” was conducted at the house, in connection with the case, for which sanction to prosecute the accused, including Lalu, came from the Centre.

A team of five CBI officials on Tuesday arrived in two cars at 10:40 AM at the residence of Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti in Pandara Park. Lalu is currently at his daughter’s place and the questioning will continue during the day.

In October, the CBI filed a chargesheet in the case against Lalu, Rabri Devi, and 14 others under charges of criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. All the accused have been summoned by the court on March 15.

The central agency said that they were quizzing Rabri Devi in connection with “further investigation” into the case.

The case pertains to some people allegedly given jobs in the Indian Railways in return for land parcels gifted or sold at cheap rates to the Yadav family and associates. The alleged “scam” took place during 2004-2009 when Lalu was the railway minister.

The CBI also alleged that due procedure and guidelines issued by the railway authority for the appointment of substitutes was not followed and later on, their services had also been regularised.

Notably, the CBI “visit” at Rabri Devi’s residence came a day after opposition leaders including Tejashwi Yadav wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the government of misusing Central agencies “to settle scores with Opposition parties”.

Opposition parties have condemned the “visit” and accused the saffron party of “suppressing” the voice of opposition, as the BJP maintained that RJD president Lalu Prasad was “reaping what he had sown”.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that Lalu Prasad and his family members are “harassed” as they did not “bow down”.

“Today Rabri Devi ji is being harassed. Lalu Prasad ji and his family have been harassed for years because they did not bow down,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi. BJP wants to “suppress” the voice of the opposition, she alleged.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed the CBI action “humiliating” and alleged that the central probe agencies are being used in the states where the BJP’s Opposition is in power.

“Raids going on members of the opposition are humiliating…This is becoming a trend in states governed by the opposition, to halt their working. They use ED, CBI & Governor to trouble them…A nation can only move forward when everyone works together,” he said.

Reacting to the allegations from Opposition parties, BJP leader and former minister Jibesh Kumar Mishra said that the CBI is an “independent agency” which is doing its job.

“Lalu Prasad was first convicted in a fodder scam case in 2013, when the Congress-led UPA, of which his party was a part, ruled the Centre. The CBI is an independent agency doing its job. Allegations of political vendetta are baseless. Lalu Prasad and his family are reaping what he has sown (jaisi karni vaisi bharni),” Mishra said.

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First published on: 07-03-2023 at 12:46 IST
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