By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 31, Jul 2023, 18:19 pm IST | UPDATED: 31, Jul 2023, 18:20 pm IST
In a major development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday attached the properties of Janata Dal (RJD) Supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav in connection with the land-for-job scam. The properties include the Yadav family’s properties in Delhi and Patna, which includes a residential house in New Friends Colony.
Central agencies like the CBI and the ED are currently investigating a multi-crore scam involving the exchange of land for jobs in the Indian Railways, with former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Yadav and his family members at the Centre.
The agencies are probing allegations that several people were given Group D jobs in the Indian Railways in exchange for land worth crores in Bihar. Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Railway Minister at the time, along with his family members are accused of accepting bribes in the form of land in exchange for these appointments.
The "land-for-jobs" scam first came to light in 2009 after the new UPA government came to power and Yadav lost his position as Union Railway Minister as his party wasn’t part of the new government.
The CBI investigation into the scam was initiated by the new Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee after allegations were made against Yadav. The investigation was restarted in September 2021.
Following a preliminary inquiry, the agency filed an FIR in 2022 against Yadav, his wife and his daughters Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav. The CBI alleged that Yadav and his associates had taken large amounts of land from people who were seeking jobs in the Indian Railways. According to the allegations, the land was given to Yadav's family members and close associates.
The investigation also revealed that many of the appointments made by Yadav's office were based on favouritism and nepotism, and not on merit. The CBI claimed that Yadav had misused his position as the Railway Minister to benefit his family members and associates.
In the FIR, the CBI alleged that between 2004 and 2009, several residents of Patna were appointed as substitutes for various Group-D posts. These posts had no advertisements and the appointments were against norms and procedures for recruitment. These people were given jobs in different zones of the railways located in Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur and Hajipur.
The CBI accused the Yadav family of acquiring over 1 lakh sq ft of land through the scam at a cost of just Rs 26 lakh, despite the fair value of the land being over Rs 4.39 crore.
The CBI charged Yadav and his family under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc.), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Enforcement Directorate also earlier conducted searches at 24 locations in Delhi, Patna, Mumbai and Ranchi in relation to the scam. The raids led to the seizure of Rs 1 crore in unaccounted cash, and foreign currency including USD 1900, 540 grams of gold bullion and more than 1.5 kg of gold jewellery worth Rs 1.25 crore. In total, the raid resulted in Rs 600 crore of assets being seized.