The land-for-jobs scam and its alleged links to Lalu Prasad Yadav and the RJD

The CBI carried out raids at the houses of four RJD leaders in connection to the land-for-jobs scam. As per the investigations, Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members received land as bribes in return for jobs in the Railways while he was the minister in 2004-2009

Explained: The land-for-jobs scam and its alleged links to Lalu Prasad Yadav and the RJD

CBI officials at the residence of RJD MLC Sunil Singh in Patna. ANI

Political drama is unfolding in the state of Bihar as officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided the houses of leaders belonging to Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in connection to the land-for-jobs scam.

The raids are being carried out at the premises of RJD MLC Sunil Singh, Rajya Sabha MPs Ashfaq Karim and Faiyaz Ahmed, and former MLC Subodh Rai, officials said.

Incidentally, the searches come on a day when Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who parted ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to ally with the RJD, is set to face a trust vote in the state Assembly.

News agency PTI reported that Sunil Singh, known to be close to Lalu Prasad, yelled from the balcony of his apartment «this is 100 per cent intentional. These people have entered my house without even informing the local police. They are asking me to sign a document.”

Singh’s wife could also be heard screaming “my husband is being victimised because of his loyalties. The CBI will get nothing from our place. I will sue the agency for defamation.”

As the raids unfold, we take a look back at what exactly is the land-for-jobs scam and how the RJD is allegedly involved in it.

All about the scam

According to the CBI, Lalu Prasad Yadav, the patriarch of the RJD, his wife Rabri along with his daughters Misa Yadav and Hema Yadav were given land plots as bribes from some people who were recruited in the Railways.

The CBI has alleged that Lalu Prasad Yadav, as the Minister of Railways during the period 2004-2009 under the United Progressive Alliance-I, had obtained advantages in the form of the transfer of landed property in the name of his family members in return for the appointment of substitutes in Group “D” post in different zones of Railways.

In the FIR, CBI had alleged that “in lieu thereof, the substitutes, who were residents of Patna themselves or through their family members sold and gifted their land situated at Patna in favour of the family members of Lalu Prasad Yadav and a private company controlled by family members, which was also involved in the transfer of such immovable properties in the name of family members.”

CBI investigations have stated that Lalu’s family acquired over one lakh square feet of land this way for just Rs 26 lakh when the actual value of the land is pegged at over Rs 4.39 crore.

FIRs and arrests

The CBI, who initiated a preliminary inquiry into the matter in September last year, has named as many as 16 people as accused in the FIR.

The 16 also include Lalu Prasad, his wife and former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, his daughters Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav.

Earlier in July, the CBI arrested Bhola Yadav, the former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) of then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in connection to the case. At the same time, the authorities also arrested railway employee, Hridayanand Chaudhary, believed to a beneficiary of the land-for-jobs scam.

A CBI official speaking on the arrest of Bhola Yadav had said in a statement, “During investigation, it was found that the then OSD to former railway minister was involved in the alleged conspiracy in appointment of substitutes. The accused was managing affairs in transfer of land by the family members of the substitutes to the family members of the former railway minister.”

How the RJD has reacted to the new searches?

Unsurprisingly, the RJD has slammed the CBI raids and called it vendetta politics by the BJP-led Centre.

The party spokesman Shakti Singh Yadav said, “I am hardly surprised. I had, in a tweet last night itself, had spoken of ED, CBI and IT planning their next operation in Bihar.”

Former Chief Minister Rabri Devi also slammed the raids saying, “They are scared. A new government has been formed under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. All parties, except BJP are with us. We have the majority. The CBI raids are just to scare us. We won’t be scared. This isn’t happening for the first time.”

RJD MP Manoj Jha echoed similar sentiments, saying, “Be it ED or CBI, all such raids are carried out to benefit the BJP.”

JD(U) chief spokesman and MLC Neeraj Kumar also deplored the raids as “a dangerous game of shakti parikshan (test of strength) by the central government in Bihar through CBI and ED.”

The BJP in Bihar hit back at the ‘vendetta politics’ charge, with the state unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal telling ANI, “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) are part of that.”

With inputs from agencies

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