The CBI has filed a corruption case on 5 July and has raided the residences of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri and son Tejashwi Yadav, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister on 7 July, as reported by The Times Of India. The raids have been carried out for alleged irregularities in awarding tenders to two railway hotels to a private company when he was the Railways Minister between 2004-2009.
The CBI had begun its raids on 7:30 am on Friday morning and is simultaneously being carried out in twelve locations including that of Patna, Bhubaneshwar and Gurugram.
The CBI FIR copy that has been procured by ANI shows the list of the accused in this scam. It included the names of the former managing director of IRCTC, PK Goel, Sarla Gupta, wife of Yadav’s associate, Prem Chand Gupta, an ex-Union corporate affairs minister and Vijay Kochhar and his brother Vinay Kochhar, directors of Sujata Hotels Private Limited and proprietors of Hotel Chalukya. These names are in addendum to that of the RJD Chief and his family members.
In a press meeting, CBI additional Director Rakesh Asthana said that some evidence point to the fact that Lalu Prasad was allegedly involved in acquiring a three acre land in Patna by rigging tenders to two private companies in Ranchi and Puri. “The allegation is that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched by which two hotels of the railways – located in Puri and Ranchi – were first transferred to IRCTC and for operations, management and upkeep given on a lease to the private Sujata Hotels Private Limited of Patna,” Asthana explained.
The three acre land in West Patna was transferred to the Sarla Gupta’s firm. She is a director at Delight Marketing, and her husband has a close association with the ex-CM of Bihar. The transfer was also done at a very low price as compared to the prevalent market prices.
The CBI reports also mention LARA Projects LLP as a primary accused in the case. The director and shareholders for LARA ( an acronym for Lalu-Rabri) Projects are Rabri Devi and her two sons. The company owns prime land in Danapur where Bihar’s “biggest shopping mall” worth Rs 500 crore is coming up.
This incident is not one off- the RJD Chief and his family have been in the news in the last month of alleged cases of corruption and scams. Almost in all the cases, the allegations have been treated as an offshoot of a political vendetta of the ruling party towards the opposition.