The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday said that the searches in connection with the land-for-job money laundering case resulted in the detection of “proceeds of crime” currently amounting to ₹600 crore and seized unaccounted cash of ₹1 crore.
A four-storey bungalow located at New Friends Colony in Delhi, registered in the name of A.B. Exports Private Limited that is owned and controlled by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and his family, was shown to have been acquired at just ₹4 lakh, said the ED, adding that its present market value was ₹150 crore.
“It is suspected that huge amounts of cash/proceeds of crime have been infused in purchasing this property and few Mumbai-based entities, dealing in the gems and jewellery sector, were used to channel ill-gotten proceeds of crime in this regard,” said the agency in a statement.
The ED alleged that although the property had been declared on paper as the office of A. B. Exports and A.K. Infosystems Private Limited, it was being exclusively used as residential premises by Mr. Yadav. During the searches on Friday, he was staying there.
The agency searched 24 locations in and around Delhi, Patna, Mumbai and Ranchi. It seized ₹1 crore and $1,900 in cash, 540 gm of gold bullion and over 1.5 kg of gold jewellery, besides property documents, and sale deeds.
“Searches resulted in the detection of proceeds of crime amounting to ₹600 crore approximately at this point of time,...in the form of immovable properties of ₹350 crore and transactions of ₹250 crore routed through various ‘ benamidaars’,” it said.
According to the agency, the money laundering probe has so far revealed that several pieces of land at prominent locations in Patna and other areas were “illegally” acquired by the family of former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad in lieu of railways’ Group-D jobs.
“The current market value of these land parcels is more than ₹200 crore. In this regard, several ‘ benamidaars’, shell entities and beneficial owners for these lands have been identified,” said the ED.
It alleged that four parcels of lands acquired by Mr. Prasad’s family for just ₹7.5 lakh “from poor Group-D applicants” were sold by his wife Rabri Devi for ₹3.50 crore to Syed Abu Dojana, former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA, in a “collusive” deal.
“... a major portion of the amount thus received, was transferred to the account of Mr. Tejashwi Prasad Yadav. Investigations revealed that in the similar fashion, lands were taken from several poor parents and candidates in lieu of Group-D jobs in the Railways,” it said, alleging that in many railway zones, over 50% of the recruited candidates were from the constituencies of Mr. Prasad’s family members.
Stating that the probe was under way to unearth more investments made on behalf of the family and their associates, the ED maintained that during the searches, all legal formalities were “fully observed and due courtesy was extended to the women, children and the senior citizens present on the search premises”.