Land-for-job case | Delhi court grants bail to Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti

The CBI had carried out searches in Delhi and Bihar after registering the case against Mr. Prasad and others, alleging that the appointment of several substitutes to the Railways’ Group-D posts were made in lieu of land parcels.

Updated - March 15, 2023 10:30 pm IST

Published - March 15, 2023 11:29 am IST - New Delhi

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav arrives to appear before Rouse Avenue Court in connection with land-for-jobs case, in New Delhi on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav arrives to appear before Rouse Avenue Court in connection with land-for-jobs case, in New Delhi on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

A Delhi court on Wednesday granted bail to former Union Minister Lalu Prasad, his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, and 14 others in connection with a case related to the alleged land-for-job scam. The court noted that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed the chargesheet without arrest.

The bail was granted to the accused by Special Judge (Rouse Avenue Court) Geetanjali Goel. The accused, who were earlier summoned by the court, have been directed to furnish a personal bond of ₹50,000 and a like amount surety.

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While summoning the accused, including Mr. Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti, the court maintained that prima facie it had been observed that there was commission of offences under Sections 120B, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 (2), 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

In May last year, the agency had carried out searches in Delhi and Bihar after registering the case against Mr. Prasad and others, alleging that the appointment of several substitutes to the Railways’ Group-D posts were made in lieu of land parcels. The case was made on the basis of a preliminary enquiry initiated to examine the allegation that during 2004-09 many ineligible candidates were appointed as substitutes. The beneficiaries were later regularised.

The CBI has alleged that no advertisement/public notice had been issued for the appointments; that the beneficiaries had not even properly addressed the applications to the departments concerned, but “undue haste was shown” in processing and approving them. Several residents of Patna were appointed as substitutes in Mumbai, Kolkata, Jabalpur, Jaipur and Hajipur.

Sale deeds

According to the agency, three sale deeds were executed in favour of Ms. Rabri Devi, one land was transferred to Ms. Bharti and another shown on paper as sold to AK Infosystems, whose properties were taken over by Mr. Prasad’s wife and a daughter in 2014. Two other land parcels were initially given to Hridyanand Choudhary, a Gopalganj resident, and Lalan Choudhary from Siwan. They later executed gift deeds in favour of Ms. Hema Yadav, Mr. Prasad’s daughter.

The CBI alleges that about 1.05 lakh sq.ft. of land in Patna was acquired by Mr. Prasad’s family members and in most cases payment to the sellers was shown in cash. The land parcels directly transferred to the family members were allegedly bought at prices ranging from ₹3.75 lakh to ₹13 lakh, lower than the then prevailing circle rates.

The CBI had earlier arrested Bhola Yadav, former Officer on Special Duty to the then Railways Minister and Railways employee Hridayanand Choudhary for their alleged role in the scam. Another “beneficiary” named Dharmendra Rai was arrested previously.

Based on its findings, in October 2022, the CBI filed a chargesheet against 16 accused. In January, it received prosecution sanction against Mr. Prasad from the competent authority.

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