After marathon searches at 24 locations in several states for over 14 hours on premises linked to former Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s family members and aides, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday said that it has recovered unaccounted cash to the tune of ₹ 1 Crore and 1.5 kg of gold jewellery worth ₹ 1.25 crore and several sale deeds held in the name of family members and benamidaars (unknown people) indicating illegal accretion of huge land bank and electronic devices.
In a statement, the financial probe agency said, “Based on the specific intelligence inputs, searches were conducted at 24 locations at various places in Delhi NCR, Patna, Mumbai and Ranchi in the railways land for job scam.”
The ED said, “Searches resulted in the recovery of unaccounted cash of ₹ 1 crore, foreign currency including USD 1,900, 540 gms gold bullion and more than 1.5 kg of gold jewellery (worth ₹ 1.25 crore approximately), several other incriminating documents including various property documents, sale deeds etc held in the names of family members and benamidaars indicating illegal accretion of huge land bank and electronic devices.”
The ED also said that searches resulted in the “detection of Proceeds of Crime amounting to ₹ 600 crore approximately at this point of time which is in the form of immovable properties of ₹ 350 Crore and transactions of Rs 250 crore routed through various benamidaars“.
It further said that the probe in the money laundering case so far has revealed that several pieces of land at prominent locations in Patna and other areas were illegally acquired by the family of the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in lieu of jobs provided in Railways.
“The current market value of these land parcels is more than ₹ 200 crore. In this regard, several benamidars, shell entities, and beneficial owners for these lands have been identified,” the ED said. The ED also said that its investigation under PMLA revealed that the property situated at D-1088, New Friends Colony, Delhi, an independent four-storied bungalow, registered in the name of A B Exports Private Limited, a company owned and controlled by Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and family, was shown to have been acquired at a value of mere ₹ 4 Lakhs, the present market value of which is approximately ₹ 150 crore.
“It is suspected that huge amount of cash or proceeds of crime has 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,” the ED alleged.
“The property has been through, on paper declared as the office of A B Exports Private Limited and AK Infosystems Pvt ltd, it is being exclusively used as residential premises by Tejasvi Prasad Yadav, son of Lalu Prasad Yadav. During the searches, Tejasvi Prasad Yadav was found to be staying at this house and was found to be using this house as his residential property,” the ED said.
Interestingly, during the ED searches on Friday, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and Lalu’s younger son Tejashwi were present in the said building along with his wife. The ED said that its probe has found that 4 parcels of lands acquired by the family of Lalu Yadav in just ₹ 7.5 lakh from poor Group-D applicants were sold to Syed Abu Dojana, Ex-RJD MLA by former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi with huge gains at ₹ 3.5 crore in a collusive deal.
“Investigation further revealed that a major portion of the amount thus received, was transferred to the account of Tejashwi Yadav, son of former Bihar CMs Lalu and Rabri,” the ED said.
The ED also alleged that its probe revealed that in a similar fashion, lands were taken from several poor parents and candidates in lieu of Group D jobs in the Railways. “It has been revealed during the investigation that in many Railways Zones, more than 50 percent of recruited candidates were from Lalu Yadav families’ constituencies. Further investigation in this regard is ongoing,” it said.
“The investigation is underway to unearth more investments made on behalf of Lalu Yadav’s family and their associates in various sectors, including real estate at various places,” the ED said. It also pointed out that while carrying out the searches, all legal formalities were fully observed and due courtesy was extended to the women, children, and senior citizens present at the search premises. Following the ED searches at Tejashwi and his sister’s residence in Delhi, former Railway Minister and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav slammed the BJP.
Lalu, who is also the father of Tejashwi and a former Bihar Chief Minister and is being investigated in a land-for-job scam by ED, cited ‘Emergency’ to slam BJP.
“We have seen the dark phase of Emergency. We fought that battle too. Today pregnant daughter-in-law has been kept sitting for 15 hours by the ED in baseless vindictive case,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
He declared that his ideological fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will continue and none of his family members would bow down before BJP’s politics.
“My ideological fight against BJP has always been and will continue. I have never bowed before them and no one from my family and party will go down before their politics,” he said in another tweet.
A Delhi court has also summoned Lalu Prasad, the former Railway Minister, his wife, and several others in connection with the case on March 15.
Lalu Prasad had gone to Singapore for a kidney transplant last year in December and returned to India in the third week of February. His daughter Rohini Acharya has donated her kidney to Lalu Prasad, who is also a former Bihar Chief Minister.
He is currently out on bail in a fodder scam case.
The government had recently given its nod to prosecute Lalu in connection with the land for job scam case earlier this year.
In October last year, the CBI filed a chargesheet against Lalu, Rabri Devi, and Misa Bharti in connection with the land for job scam case.
The agency has also named 13 more people in its charge sheet.
According to CBI sources, during the investigation carried out so far and during the agency searches in August last year, the CBI recovered over 200 sale deeds.
The source said that many candidates would have given their land to get jobs
CBI had registered a fresh case against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti, his other daughter Hema Yadav and others in May this year.
The CBI had also carried out searches at multiple locations in Delhi, Patna, Gopalganj, Gurugram, and others in connection with the case in May last year after registering a fresh case.