New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate Monday said it has attached assets worth more than Rs 6 crore belonging to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s family — his wife Rabri Devi, daughter Misa Bharti and linked companies — as part of its money laundering investigation against them in an alleged land-for-railway jobs scam.
A provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been issued to attach the six immovable assets in Patna, Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) and a four-storey bungalow at D-1088 in the posh New Friends Colony area of south Delhi, the agency said in a statement.
The properties attached also include two land parcels situated at Mahuabagh (Danapur) in Patna of which one each is owned by former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi and A K Infosystems Pvt Ltd (a company stated to be controlled by Prasad’s family), a land parcel owned by RJD chief’s MP daughter Misa Bharti in the Bihta area of Patna. Also attached is a portion of two industrial plots (one plot each registered in the names of Vineet Yadav and Shiv Kumar Yadav, the husband and father-in-law respectively of Yadav’s daughter Hema Yadav) situated in the Sahibabad industrial area of Ghaziabad, it said.
The ED said A B Exports Pvt Ltd is a “shell” or fake company owned by Prasad’s son and Bihar deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and Chanda Yadav (another daughter of the RJD chief) and its registered address is the bungalow located in the New Friends Colony area. All these assets have a combined “book value” of Rs 6.02 crore, the agency said.
The ED case stems from a CBI FIR against Yadav, a former cabinet minister for railways, Rabri Devi and others and it is alleged that seven land parcels were “acquired” by the family members of Lalu Prasad from the candidates “irregularly” appointed (as substitutes) and their family members, as a “quid pro quo” for Group D jobs in the Railways. The family members of candidates gifted/sold land (at cheap rates/lesser than the circle rate) to family members of Lalu Prasad and associated companies in lieu of jobs which was given in a “mala fide” manner with undue haste and in “violation” of extant law and procedure, the ED alleged.
This criminal conspiracy, the agency claimed, to abuse his (Lalu Yadav) official position for the sake of seeking “bribes” led to accretion of the land parcels by his family members at Mahuabagh (Danapur) and Bihta, Patna, in such a manner so as to consolidate the land holdings already in their possession. The alleged scam pertains to Lalu Yadav’s tenure as the railways minister between 2004-09 in the UPA-I government at the Centre.
The ED alleged Rabri Devi and Hema Yadav sold four land parcels “illegally” acquired from appointees in the Railways to Meridian Construction India Ltd., a company related to Syed Abu Dojana, a former RJD MLA, and the “proceeds of crime” so obtained by Rabri Devi and Hema Yadav were further transferred through a maze of transactions to A B Exports Pvt Ltd and M/s Bhagirathi Tubes respectively. “Rabri Devi and Hema Yadav sold these land parcels for Rs 3.5 crore against the acquisition cost of Rs 7.5 lakh, thus deriving huge gains,” the ED claimed.
It said Bhagirathi Tubes is a partnership firm under the control of the father-in-law and husband of Hema Yadav, with its principal place of business at Ghaziabad.
Talking about the New Friends Colony property in the national capital, the ED said it was an independent four-storeyed bungalow, registered in the name of A B Exports Private Limited, which was shown to have been acquired in 2011 at a value of mere Rs 4 lakh. Despite being declared as the registered corporate office of various companies under the control of the members of the Lalu Prasad Yadav family, the same is being used solely for residential purposes, which was found during the search operations conducted at the said premises on March 10 this year, the ED said.
The ED has recorded the statement of Prasad’s wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, their children including Bihar Deputy Chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, daughters Misa Bharti (RJD MP in Rajya Sabha), Chanda Yadav and Ragini Yadav, over the last few months, in this case.