In 1992 and 2010, RJD chief Lalu Prasad was allotted two adjacent plots in Patna by a cooperative society for MPs and MLAs when its stated norm was one plot per MP or MLA. Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav, the RJD MP from Banka, was another leader who was allotted two plots, documents accessed by The Indian Express show.
In 2003, a decade after first allotment to Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi, then Bihar chief minister, had a third plot transferred to her by her ministerial colleague Abdul Bari Siddiqui. This was adjacent to the first of the two plots allotted to Lalu. And in 2004, the documents show, Rabri’s brother Sadhu Yadav was allotted the plot next to his sister’s plot, which he got in exchange for another plot allotted to him earlier. Six years later, Lalu was allotted his second plot at the other end of the chunk of back-to-back plots.
Each of these four plots, in prime location near Patna airport, measures 2,422 square feet and was allotted against a cost of Rs 37,000 under the scheme. The current market value of each plot would be in the range of Rs 80 to 90 lakh, builders in Patna estimate.
A single entrance leads to these plots as well as a fifth, this one allotted in 2006 Lalu Prasad’s close aide and Prem Chandra Gupta, Rajya Sabha MP. The combined premises were rented out to the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) years ago. A signboard of the SSB, faded to the point of becoming almost illegible, stands near the gate.
Under the rules of the Bihar Saansad evam Vidan Mandaliya Sadasya Sahkari Grih Nirman Samiti, the cooperative society that made the allotments, the plots are only for residential use and not to be used for commercial purposes.
The society, formed in 1979, got 15 acres Khas Mahal government land about 1 km near the airport for allotment among MLAs and MPs, each of them to get a plot of 2,422 square feet. It has so far allotted 230 plots, or about 12.8 acres. Most of the allotments were made during 1991-1992. Lalu Prasad had taken over as Bihar CM in March 1990.
At present, the cooperative committee has RJD leaders in all its top posts. While Banka MP J P N Yadav is the chairman of the committee, Finance Minister Siddiqui is deputy chairperson and MLA Bhola Yadav, another aide of Lalu, is the secretary. RJD leaders also dominate the 10-member elected committee.
The documents accessed by The Indian Express show that on April 21, 1992, then CM Lalu was allotted plot number 208 for Rs 37,000. On September 9, 2003, Siddiqui’s plot 209 was transferred to then CM Rabri. Plot 210, which was meant for building a community hall according to the society’s papers, was allotted to Sadhu Yadav on January 13, 2004, in exchange of plot 229. Lalu got his second plot, number 207, through a transfer from then RJD MLC Badshah Azad on January 30, 2010, once again for Rs 37,000.
Asked if the plot allotted to him is in his possession, Sadhu Yadav said he would respond to such questions after visiting Patna.
Rajya Sabha MP Gupta, meanwhile, has plot 211. The land deed papers show construction had started on Gupta’s plot even before the allotment was made. The committee had registered sale of deed to Gupta on February 14, 2006, before approving the allotment on April 8 that year.
BJP legislature party leader Sushil Kumar Modi said there had been no construction on the land allotted by government to the cooperative society. He alleged that Gupta had started construction on the plot much before it was allotted to him.
Neither Gupta nor J P N Yadav, who was allotted two plots, could be contacted for comment. Plot number 222 was allotted to Yadav on February 20, 2004, followed by the transfer on July 19, 2006, of plot 223 – originally allotted to Ramdev Yadav on July 23, 2005.
Asked about the apparent bypassing of the society’s rules, RJD national spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha told The Indian Express: “I have not read the MoU and bylaws of the society. I can comment only I have access to and have read them.”
A source in the CM secretariat said the 15 acres of government land was given to the cooperative society on a 30-year lease that ends on December 31, 2017.
“The file of renewal has been put up before the government,” the official said. “The government formulated a Khas Mahal policy in 2011 with certain amendments such as providing payment of land rent based on the current circle rate of land. Besides, we are also looking at a report by the Patna DM on certain violations in the allotment process.”