In more troubles for former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has received sanction from the Centre to prosecute the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in the land-for-job scam case.
According to CBI officials privy to the development, the sanction letter against Lalu was submitted before a court in Delhi on Friday. The sanction from competent authority is required for courts to take cognizance of chargesheets by the prosecution.
The CBI filed the chargesheet against 13 persons including Lalu, his wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi and their daughter Misa Bharti, who is a Rajya Sabha MP in October last year.
Others charge-sheeted by the CBI in the case include former Railways general manager Sowmya Raghvan and former Railway CPO Kamal Deep Mainrai and some people who appeared in exams in place of authorized candidates.
The prosecution sanction against Lalu is set to raise the political temperature in Bihar, where his party is in alliance with the JD-U and the Congress.
Sources in CBI said that the agency has recovered over 200 sale deeds so far during the investigation and searches in August last year, adding that many candidates would have given their land to get jobs.
The sources claimed that CBI’s initial investigation showed the identification of 12 such candidates who got the job when Lalu was the railway minister between 2004 and 2009 in the UPA-I government.
They further said that the investigation so far revealed that Bhola Yadav, then OSD of Lalu Prasad Yadav, persuaded the engagement of various substitute candidates in Group D with the railway authorities concerned.
Bhola Yadav was arrested in July last year by the CBI. He was instrumental in finalizing and executing land deals, the sources said.
During the probe, it was also revealed that Bhola Yadav was collecting applications from various candidates for engagement as substitutes in Group D at the offices of Lalu and Rabri in Patna.
The agency recovered some critical documents during the police custody of Bhola Yadav.
It has also come to light that named candidates, though residents of Patna during the period 2004-09, were appointed as substitutes in different zones of the railway – Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, Hajipur – and in lieu of that, their family members transferred their land in the name of family members of Lalu Prasad Yadav and a company called AK Infosystem. The sources said that AK Infosystem was taken over by family members of Lalu.
As many as 1,05,292 square feet of land in Patna was acquired by Lalu’s family members through two gift deeds and five sale deeds. “In most of the sale deeds, the seller was mentioned to have paid in cash,” the sources added.
The CBI had registered a fresh case against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti, his other daughter Hema Yadav and others in May last year and later carried out searches at multiple locations in Delhi, Patna, Gopalganj, and Gurugram.
Currently, Lalu is recuperating in a hospital in Singapore after a kidney transplant surgery last month.