New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday filed its first charge sheet in the railways land-for-jobs linked money laundering case, naming former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi and her MP daughter Misa Bharti among others, official sources said.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s another daughter Hema Yadav (40), an alleged “close associate” of the Yadav family Amit Katyal (49), railway employee and alleged beneficiary Hridayanand Chaudhary, two firms A K Infosystems Pvt. Ltd. and A B Exports Pvt. Ltd., through their common director Shariqul Bari, have also been named in the charge sheet.
The complaint arraying a total of seven accused has been filed before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Delhi and the court has listed the matter to be heard on January 16, the sources said.
Katyal was arrested in this case by the ED in November last year while Lalu Prasad Yadav was summoned by the agency but is yet to depose. However, his son and Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav has deposed once before the agency. He has been asked to appear again before it.
Rabri Devi (68), RJD Rajya Sabha MP Misa Bharti (47), and two other daughters of Lalu Yadav and Rabri Devi– Chanda Yadav and Ragini Yadav– have been questioned in this case by the ED.
The alleged scam pertains to the period when Prasad was the railway minister in the UPA-1 government.
It is alleged that from 2004 to 2009, several people were appointed to Group “D” positions in various zones of the Indian Railways and in lieu, these people transferred their land to the family members of the then railway minister Prasad and a linked company named A K Infosystems Private Limited.
A K Infosystems Private Limited is allegedly a “beneficiary company” in the case and its registered address in south Delhi’s New Friends Colony was being used by Tejashwi Yadav, the ED had said earlier.
Katyal has been a director of this company, as per the agency.
A B Exports Pvt Ltd is a “shell” or fake company owned by Tejashwi Yadav and Chanda Yadav and its registered address is also the New Friends Colony located bungalow.
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 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 earlier claimed.
The money laundering case, filed under the criminal sections of the PMLA, stems from a complaint lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The CBI has filed a charge sheet in this case earlier.
Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav have been granted bail by a trial court in October in the CBI case.
According to the CBI, no advertisement or public notice was issued for appointment, but some residents of Patna were appointed as substitutes in different zonal railways in Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur and Hazipur.
As a quid pro quo, the candidates, directly or through their immediate family members, allegedly sold land to Prasad’s family members at highly discounted rates, up to one-fourth to one-fifth of the prevailing market rates, the CBI alleged.
Assets worth more than Rs 6 crore belonging to Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti and linked companies were attached by the ED last year as part of this investigation.
The agency had raided the premises of Chanda Yadav, Ragini Yadav, Hema Yadav, and Abu Dojana in Patna, Phulwari Sharif, Delhi-NCR, Ranchi and Mumbai in March 2023.