Land-for-Job scam case | RJD chief Lalu Prasad appears before ED for questioning

The alleged scam occurred when Lalu Prasad was Railway Minister between 2004 and 2009

January 29, 2024 11:37 am | Updated 08:12 pm IST - New Delhi

RJD chief Lalu Prasad arrives at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office for questioning in the land-for-jobs case.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad arrives at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office for questioning in the land-for-jobs case. | Photo Credit: PTI

A day after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar severed ties with the mahagathbandhan(grand alliance) to align with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning in land-for-job scam on Monday.

Mr. Prasad reached the ED office in Patna’s Bank road at 11 a.m. and was grilled by ED officials for over eight hours. The ED officials, said sources, have presented a set of over 50 questions in the land-for-job scam case which saw the alleged sale of properties at throwaway prices or as ‘gifts’ to Mr. Prasad’s kinfolk during his term as Railway Minister in the 2004-2009 United Progressive Alliance government. The CBI is investigating the allegations of bribery in the case whereas the ED is probing the money laundering trail.

Also read: Explained | What is the alleged land-for-jobs scam involving former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad?

Accompanied by his elder daughter and the RJD’s Rajya Sabha MP, Misa Bharti, the ailing Mr. Prasad reached the ED’s regional office in Patna. A large number of RJD supporters, leaders, and several party legislators as well as former MPs had gathered outside the ED office to show their support for Mr. Prasad and express their opposition to the Centre. Ms. Bharti, and the RJD leaders and workers remained outside the ED office through the evening. The security was tightened with deployment of Central security personnel at the ED office. Convicted in several fodder scam cases, Mr. Prasad is currently out on bail on health grounds. He had recently undergone kidney transplant in Singapore, and was recuperating.

“This is nothing new for our family. Whenever our family members are summoned for questioning we cooperate; though I must say that Mr. Prasad’s health is not good,” Ms. Bharti told mediapersons outside the ED office in Patna.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has gotten scared with the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha election, and is harassing all those who are opposing the BJP through the might of the investigating agencies. This is true of the Opposition in Patna, West Bengal, Maharashtra as well as other places,” he said.

Also read | No merit in land-for-jobs scam case, says Tejashwi Yadav

Ms. Bharti’s Singapore based sister, Rohini Acharya, threatened in her post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) saying, “If something happens to my father, I shall bring the worst to ‘them’. If something happens to my father today, the chameleons [an oblique reference to CM Nitish Kumar] along with the CBI and the ED will be held responsible. The Lion [Mr. Prasad] walks alone and is not weak,” she had asserted on social media.

“Everyone knows about the poor health of my father but ED officials did not allow any medical assistant to accompany him. It’s inhuman behaviour… shame on you [ED officials] and on your boss,” she added.

The ED had issued summons to Mr. Prasad and his son Tejashwi Yadav on January 19 to appear on January 29 and 30 respectively. The summons were handed over to former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, who is Mr. Prasad’s wife, at her residence 10 Circular Road in Patna.

In March 2023, the ED had conducted searches at the premises linked to Mr. Prasad and his family members in the case. Mr. Prasad, his wife, daughters Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav, and son Tejashwi Yadav are among the 12 accused persons in the case.

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