Explained: What is the Bihar land-for-job ‘scam’? | The Financial Express

Explained: What is the Bihar land-for-jobs ‘scam’?

While Bihar Deputy CM Tejshwi Yadav continues to skip CBI summons, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife and former CM Rabri Devi and daughter Misa, were among many others granted bail by a Delhi court in the land-for-job case.

Explained: What is the Bihar land-for-job ‘scam’?
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav (File Image)

Even as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigate the land-for-jobs scam, former Railways minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal national president Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi and daughter Misa Bharti were granted bail by a Delhi court in connection with the case.

What is the land-for-job case?

The alleged scam happened in the railway recruitment processes when Lalu Prasad was the Union Railways minister from 2004 to 2009. The RJD supremo has been accused of offering Group D appointments in railways in lieu of plots of land in the name of his family members, including his daughters and son Tejashwi Yadav, during his stint as the minister in the UPA regime.

CBI chargesheet in October 2022

As per the chargesheet of the case filed by the CBI in October 2022, the central agency claimed that irregular appointments were made in the railways, which violated the laid down guidelines and processes of the Indian Railways for recruitment. Also, the candidates revealed that they sold land to Lalu Prasad and his family at a discounted price, up to one-fifth of the prevailing market rates, according to the chargesheet.

Delhi Court summons RJD chief, family in February

Taking cognizance of the chargesheet on February 27 this year, the Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi issued summons to Lalu Prasad and his wife and 14 others to appear before the court on March 15.

Special judge Geetanjali Goel had noted: “A perusal of the charge sheet and the documents and material on record prima facie shows commission of offences under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy), read with sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc.), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using forged document as genuine) of the IPC and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Accordingly, cognizance is taken of the said offences.”

The court clearly noted that the CBI filed the chargesheet without any arrest. The court also granted bail to all the other accused in the related case and ordered each of the accused to furnish Rs 50,000 personal bail bond and a like amount surety.

CBI questions Rabri Devi, Lalu Yadav in March

On March 6, the CBI quizzed Rabri Devi at her residence in Patna followed by an interfrogation of the RJD chief in Delhi the next day at his daughter Dr Bharti’s residence, where the RJD chief is recuperating after a kidney transplant last year.

The series of questioning is related to recently obtained leads and information received by the CBI in the case.

ED raids Tejashwi Yadav’s house in March

On March 10, the ED conducted searches at Tejashwi Yadav’s house in New Friends Colony in New Delhi. The ED also carried out searches in several cities of Bihar, covering a few leaders connected with the RJD. The ED has been separately investigating the case under the prevention of the money laundering act.

“The investigation has revealed that several pieces of land at prominent locations in Patna and other areas were illegally acquired by the family of Lalu Prasad in lieu of jobs provided in railways. The current market value of these land parcels is over Rs 200 crore,” the ED stated in a press note.

The CBI also summoned Tejashwi Yadav to join the investigation in Delhi on Tuesday in connection with the scam but didn’t show up, agency sources said. Before this, Tejashwi Yadavwas summoned on March 4 and 11, but didn’t join the probe citing wife’s health issues.

CBI registers case in May 2022

A case was registered on May 18 2022 against Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, and daughters Dr Bharti and Hema Yadav, in addition to 12 people who were given jobs in Railway zones of Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, Hajipur in 2008-09.

In August 2022, the central agency conducted searches at over two dozen locations, including at an under-construction mall in Gurugram believed to being built by a firm owned by Tejashwi Yadav, in connection with the case.

The CBI had recovered more than 200 sale deeds during raids at the premises of several RJD leaders in connection with the case.

The searches were carried out in Delhi, Gurugram, Patna, Madhubani, Katihar among others.

Preliminary inquiry by CBI in September 2021

The CBI had registered a preliminary inquiry on September 23, 2021, related to the scam and filed the FIR under IPC Section 120-B, which deals with criminal conspiracy, and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The action came after the central probe agency claimed it had found evidence in the case.

The FIR read: “Out of seven instances of land transfer, it is revealed that three sale deeds were executed in favour of Rabri Devi, wife of Lalu Yadav, one sale deed was executed in the name of Misha Bharti, daughter of Lalu Prasad Yadav, one sale deed was executed in favour of M/s AK Infosystems Private Limited, in which later Rabri Devi became major shareholder, in the year 2014 and currently she is one of the Director of the Company. Two gift deeds were executed in favour of Hema Yadav, daughter of Lalu Prasad Yadav.”

It was further alleged that about 1,05,292 square feet of land situated in Patna was transferred to the family members of Lalu Prasad from those persons through five sale deeds and two gift deeds and in most of the sale deeds, payment to the sellers was mentioned to be paid in cash.

The value of the land as per the existing circle rate was about Rs 4.39 crore, the CBI alleged. The land was directly purchased by the family members of Prasad from the sellers at a rate lower than the prevalent circle rate, the CBI said, adding that the prevalent market value of the land was much higher than the circle rate.

The CBI also alleged that the aspirants were recruited within three days of applying in undue haste by the railway officials. They were later also regularised, after the candidates themselves or their relatives transferred their land. The CBI also claimed no advertisement or public notice was issued for the recruitments.

CBI gets sanction to prosecute Lalu Yadav in January

The CBI on 13 January this year received sanction to prosecute Lalu Prasad Yadav in the land-for-job scam.

Lalu Yadav OSD arrested in July 2022

Last year in July, the CBI arrested Bhola Yadav, former OSD to Lalu Prasad when the latter was the railway minister, along with a railway employee in connection with the scam.

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First published on: 15-03-2023 at 15:23 IST
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