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Hotels-for-land scam: CBI summons Lalu , son Tejashwi

Trouble mounts for Lalu Prasad, convicted in a fodder scam case and facing trial in others as CBI summons him over irregularities in awarding contract during his tenure as railway minister.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2017 18:26 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Lalu Prasad,Tejashwi Yadav,CBI
Former chief minister of Bihar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav arrives to appear in special CBI court in connection with the multi-crore fodder scam case, in Ranchi on Thursday. (PTI photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday issued fresh summons to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad and his son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, former deputy chief minister of Bihar, in connection with irregularities in awarding contracts during Lalu’s tenure as the railway minister (2004-09).

While Prasad was asked to appear before the CBI in New Delhi on September 11, son Tejashwi had to appear on September 12.

The news of the CBI summons came when Prasad was in Ranchi to appear in court in connection with the animal husbandry scam trial.

Prasad – convicted in the fodder scam – continues to face legal troubles. One of the five fodder cases has been reopened. And following a Supreme Court order to complete the trial within nine months, the court has begun hearing the cases on priority basis. Lalu has had to travel to Jharkhand to appear before the court on a weekly basis.

Reacting to the CBI summon, RJD spokesperson Shakti Singh Yadav said the government was adopting different yardsticks in dealing with Prasad and those guilty of swindling public money in the Rs 1,300 crore Srijan government fund transfer scandal in Bihar. He questioned why the Central government did not show the same alacrity in acting against the accused in the Srijan scam.

The CBI had searched the homes and properties of Prasad and his family on July 7 as part of investigations into alleged irregularities in leasing out railway hotels when the RJD chief was the rail minister.

The raids were carried out at 12 locations in five cities a day after the CBI filed cases against Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi, among others.

Prasad cried conspiracy, saying he was being targeted for uniting the opposition against the Modi government.

However, JD(U) spokesperson Sanjay Singh on Thursday said the CBI action was not part of any political conspiracy. Taking potshots at the RJD chief, he said Prasad’s name should be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for amassing huge benami property.

There are a spate of allegations against Lalu and his family members.

The Income Tax department had recently raided 22 locations in New Delhi and adjoining places, related to land and farm houses owned by Lalu’s daughter, Misa Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar. After questioning by the Enforcement Directorate, it provisionally attached a farm house (26, Palam Farms, Bijwasan, in New Delhi) on September 5.

His son and deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav is alleged to hold big stakes in a company promoting Bihar’s biggest mall in the state capital worth Rs 750 crore. Another son Tej Pratap is alleged to hold big tracts of land; and daughters – Misa, Hema and Ragini – have been accused of being directors in many shell companies. In all of this, the charge is that Lalu’s position in power was misused to amass assets.

There are also accusations against Prasad of taking prime land from RJD’s senior leaders like Raghunanth Jha, Kanti Singh and few ordinary people in lieu of ministerial berths and jobs during his stint at railway minister.

First Published: Sep 07, 2017 18:26 IST