I-T department questions Rabri, Tejashwi in benami assets case
Officials said Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav were summoned by the department and the investigating officer of the case recorded their statements after they appeared at the I-T office.india Updated: Aug 30, 2017 08:42 IST
The income-tax department on Tuesday quizzed Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav in connection with its alleged benami assets probe against them in land deals worth Rs 1,000 crore in Patna and New Delhi through shell companies floated in the last few years.
Unconfirmed sources said Prasad’s daughter and Rajya Sabha member Misa Bharti was also questioned, but RJD legislator Bhola Yadav said she only accompanied her mother to the I-T department’s office in Patna.
I-T officials said Rabri and former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav were summoned by the department and the investigating officer (IO) of the case recorded their statements after they appeared at the I-T office in Patna.
The questioning by I-T department comes two days after the RJD held a massive rally against the BJP and gave a call for opposition unity to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi from power in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The officials said a special I-T team, flown in to assist the investigating officer from New Delhi, quizzed Tejaswhi Yadav from 10.30 am to 1 pm. Rabri Devi arrived at the I-T office in the afternoon and was quizzed for over four hours from 2 pm.
Tejaswhi Yadav did not speak to reporters after coming out of the I-T office at around 6 pm.
But I-T officials, on the condition of anonymity, said both Tejashwi Yadav and Rabri Devi were questioned about the land acquired by Delight Marketing Limited and A K Infosystem, the firms owned by them.
The Delight Marketing Limited had been taken over by Tejashwi Yadav and Rabri in 2014 along with the assets in the possession of the firm, a two-acre plot at Saguna Mor, on the outskirts of Patna, where a big shopping mall is being constructed. The firm was later rechristened as LARA by floating a limited liability partnership (LLP) firm. The A K Infosystem also has plots at Jalalpur and Danapur, near Patna, worth several crores of rupees.
The I-T department had in June served notices on Prasad, Tejashwi Yadav and Rabri Devi under the Benami Transaction Act. The department had served notices on Prasad’s daughters Misa, Chanda, Ragini and son-in-law Shailesh Kumar. It had provisionally attached the plots in Patna, including the plot at Saguna Mor, and a farm house and a plot at Palam Vihar area and a residential building in the upmarket New Friends Colony in south Delhi.
The I-T department has said these alleged benami assets bear a “deed” value of about Rs 9.32 crore but the taxman has estimated their current market value at Rs 170-180 crore.
Trouble had started for Prasad’s family after senior BJP leader and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi made a series of exposes as how the RJD chief’s immediate family had amassed property worth Rs 1000 crore by taking over companies at throwaway prices and floating shell companies to indulge in money laundering and dodge tax agencies. Modi had alleged that the upcoming shopping mall was worth Rs 750 crore with the valuation of the land estimated at 200 crore, a charge Prasad had rubbished as a “sheer exaggeration” and claimed all the deals were done as per law.
Misa and her husband Shailesh Kumar were earlier quizzed a number of times by the enforcement directorate on the alleged charges of money laundering and possessing prime properties in New Delhi, including farm houses. Misa’s chartered accountant was also arrested in connection with the money laundering case involving two persons, Surendra Kumar Jain and Virendra Jain, who were accused of converting black money white by promoting shell companies only on paper.
The questioning by I-T department comes two days after RJD held a massive rally against BJP and gave a call for opposition unity to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi from power in 2019 Lok Sabha elections
First Published: Aug 29, 2017 19:45 IST