After being at the receiving end of his ‘haranguing’ over allegedly ‘dubious’ acquisition of properties by members of the immediate family of Lalu Prasad, the combined weight of an ‘outraged’ RJD leadership came down like a ton of bricks on BJP leader Sushil Modi.
Prasad’s younger son, Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, on Sunday, responded to Modi’s charge that he and his elder brother, health minister Tej Pratap Yadav, had acquired ‘benami’ properties worth over Rs 100 crore through ‘takeover’ of ‘front’ companies.
He made an offer to Modi: “If that is so, I am ready to offer all these properties at a 50% discount to him”, said Tejashwi.
Elsewhere in Patna, RJD national spokesman convened a press conference to release the 2015-16 annual IT returns of Sushil Modi’s brother RK Modi, a realtor. “How did RK Modi manage a Rs 400 crore loan at a meagre interest rate of just 1%”, asked Jha, smelling a rat.
Over the past fortnight, Sushil Modi (SuMo) had been ‘targeting’ Prasad’s family for getting controlling stakes in three companies – RJD MP Prem Chand Gupta-owned Delight Marketing, Om Prakash Katyal-owned AK Infosystem and Ashok Kumar Banthia-owned AB Infosystems, along with their prime assets in New Delhi, Patna and elsewhere, “at throwaway prices”.
Initially Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap had warned Modi of filing a defamation case. This was followed by Tejashwi’s charge that the BJP leader’s son Utkarsh had a stake in an upcoming mall at Lodipur (Patna), being constructed by Utkarsh Sphatic Pvt Ltd.
On Sunday, the deputy CM accused SuMo of “indulging in cheap politics” and rejected his charges of financial misconduct as baseless. While offering his properties at 50% discounted, he said Modi had grossly over-estimated the deemed value of the properties.
SuMo had, on Saturday, ‘disclosed’ how Lalu Prasad’s family got hold of a residential property worth Rs 100 crore in a posh locality of New Delhi, through the acquisition of AB Exports, which did no business other than purchase the land—that too, using an interest free Rs 5 crore loan from five diamond and gold traders.
Earlier, he had alleged financial misconduct in construction of shopping mall in Patna’s outskirt by Prasad family.
RJD spokesman Jha hit back at SuMo by demanding a high-level impartial probe into alleged “unaccounted investments” in construction firm, Ashiana Homes Pvt Ltd, owned by Raj Kumar Modi, and his family.
Jha, flanked by RJD seniors Jagadanand Singh and Ram Chandra Purve, dismissed Modi’s allegations of misconduct involving Prasad’s family, claiming everything ‘disclosed’ by SuMo was in public domain and the party was ready for any kind of probe.
RJD’s Jha also sought to know from the BJP leader the identity of persons who had invested ₹84 crore through ‘zero interest optionally convertible convertible debentures’ and ₹87 crore worth of redeemable non-convertible debentures, in RK Modi’s flagship company, Ashiana Homes.
Jha further asked SuMo as to why Lalit Kumar Chhawchharia was made a director in Ashiana Homes, even though he was accused of running a string of shell companies, which were allegedly used for money laundering. “Chhawchharia is also facing enforcement directorate (ED) cases”, he claimed.
Jha wondered why Ashiana Homes, having seven subsidiary and two associates companies, had its registered office at 5F Everest, 46/C Chowringhee road, Kolkata, while it operated mainly in NCR and northern states. He said a Google search showed over 200 companies were registered at this address.