Land-for-jobs case: CBI gets more time to file supplementary charge sheet

In return for appointments in the Railways, Yadav got lands owned by candidates transferred in his wife Devi’s and daughter Bharti’s names for much less than the prevailing market rates

June 01, 2023 03:11 pm | Updated 04:44 pm IST - New Delhi

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Misa Bharti arrives at Rouse Avenue Court to attend the court proceedings in connection with land for jobs scam case, in New Delhi.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Misa Bharti arrives at Rouse Avenue Court to attend the court proceedings in connection with land for jobs scam case, in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: ANI

Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court on June 1 granted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) more time to file a supplementary charge sheet in the alleged land-for-jobs scam. Former Union Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav's daughter RJD MP Misa Bharti attended the hearing.

Special judge Geetanjali Goel on June 1 granted more time to the CBI after being informed that some new facts had to be included. However, the court expressed its displeasure to the CBI about the continued delays being introduced into the matter. The next date of hearing in the matter is July 12. The court has asked the agency to expedite the process.

Bihar's former CM Rabri Devi too was present at the court proceedings. Former Union Railway Minister Yadav had sought an exemption from appearance on medical grounds. On March 15, the same court granted regular bail to ex-Railways Minister Yadav, ex-Bihar CM Devi, their daughter-RJD MP Bharti and other accused in the land-for-jobs scam case.

In its charge sheet, the CBI had said that appointments were given to candidates in violation of the norms and procedures laid down for recruitment to the Indian Railways. As a quid-pro-quo, the candidates directly or through their immediate relatives/family members, sold land to the family members of Yadav (then Union Railway Minister) at highly discounted rates up to 1/4th to 1/5th of the prevailing market rates, said the CBI.

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The agency further stated that investigation has revealed that Yadav during the period 2007-08, when he was Minister of Railways, with the intent to acquire land parcels situated in Vill- Mahuabagh, Patna, and Vill-Kunjwa, Patna, which were situated adjacent to the land parcels already owned by his family members, entered into a criminal conspiracy with his wife Devi, and daughter Bharti, Officers of Central Railways, namely Sowmya Raghvan, the then General Manager, Kamal Deep Mainrai, the then Chief Personnel Officer, and residents of Vill-Mahjabagh, Patna, and Vill-Bindaul, Bihta, Patna, and Patna City, namely Raj Kumar Singh, Mithlesh Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Sanjay Kumar, Dharmendra Kumar, Vikas Kumar, Abhishek Kumar, Ravindra Ray, Kiran Devi, Akhileshwar Singh, Ramashish Singh.

According to the CBI, all the candidates after their engagement as substitutes were subsequently regularised. In lieu of getting them appointed in Railways, Yadav got the lands owned by candidates and their family members transferred in the names of his wife Devi and daughter Bharti for a sale consideration that was much lower than the prevailing circle rates as well as the prevailing market rates.

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

Earlier, the court while taking cognisance of the charge sheet said, after going through the charge sheet and the documents and material on record, prima facie shows the commission of offences under Section 120B read with Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 IPC and Sections 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 (2) read with Section 13 (1) (d) of PC Act, 1988 and substantive offences thereof. Accordingly, cognisance is taken of the said offences.

The CBI filed the charge sheet in October last year, against former Bihar chief ministers Yadav, Devi, their daughter Bharti and 13 others in the land-for-jobs scam. “During the investigation, it has been found that the accused in conspiracy with the then GM Central Railways and CPO, Central Railways, engaged persons as substitutes in lieu of land either in their name or in the name of their close relatives. This land was acquired at prices lower than the prevailing circle rate and much lower than the market rate. It was also alleged that the candidates have used false TC and submitted false attested documents to the Ministry of Railways,” the CBI claimed in a press statement.

The alleged scam occurred when Yadav was Railways Minister between 2004 and 2009. Apart from the RJD leader, the charge sheet also includes the name of the then Railways General Manager.

CBI stated that the investigation had revealed that the candidates were considered for their engagement without any need for substitutes and there was no urgency for their appointment which was one of the main criteria behind the engagement of substitutes and joined their duties much later from the approval of their appointment and they were subsequently regularised.

There were several anomalies found in the applications of the candidates and the documents that were enclosed due to which the applications should not have been processed and their engagement should not have been approved.

Further, in most cases, the candidates joined their jobs in their respective divisions on many later dates which defeated the purpose of appointment of substitutes in some cases, the candidates could not clear their medical examination under the required category to which their engagement was made and subsequently, they were considered and appointed on the posts where inferior/ lower medical category was required, said the CBI.

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