RJD supremo Lalu Yadav on Friday denied the charges in connection with the CBI raids across several hotels of the railway that were given to private parties during his tenure as Railway Minister in the UPA-I government. Dubbing the raids, which the CBI carried out this morning, as part of political vendetta’s by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah and the RSS, Yadav also said that it not fair on the part of the CBI to raid the houses of his children in his absence. He, however, claimed that he would not bow down to the BJP’s pressure tactics and would trounce them eventually, as he was getting like-minded parties together on one platform.
Holding a press conference at the State Guest House in Morabadi here, after appearing in a special CBI court in connection with a fodder scam case, Yadav said: “When I came to know about the raids this morning, I told my children (Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav and health minister Tej Pratap Yadav) and wife that they should welcome the CBI officials and allow them to search whatever they were looking for.”
Yadav added that he even asked them to ensure the security of the CBI team. “Otherwise, if somebody throws a stone at them, they will accuse Lalu of not cooperating with the CBI, he said.” Later, he added, “It was not fair on the part of the CBI to raid the houses of my children in my absence.” He, however, added: “CBI officials are not at fault. They are only following the orders of (Narendra) Modi and the central government.”
Reading out from hand-written notes, Lalu also presented the brief facts of the case, in which the CBI have registered FIR and carried out raids. “The IRCTC was founded in 1999; it became functional in 2002. In 2003, hotels owned by railways in Delhi, Puri, Ranchi and Howrah were handed over to IRCTC. I became railway minister on May 31, 2004. By then, the previous NDA government, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had already taken a policy decision to hand-over these properties to private people,” said Yadav.
The former Railway minister further added: IRCTC is an autonomous body. Not a single file from it comes to the Railway Minister. I dare anybody to show that there was one file, one approval, which I gave as Railway minister. In 2006, some hotels were given to private parties through open tender to the highest bidder.”
Yadav blamed the BJP of trying to send him to jail or get him to surrender, as he can’t be won over by “allurement”. “They are trying to scare me, but I am not going to be affected,” he said.
To a query on whether his ally in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, was not supporting him enough, Yadav said the question had no meaning. Earlier in the day, Yadav appeared before a special CBI court in connection with alleged fraudulent withdrawal of money from treasuries of Doranda (in Ranchi) and Deoghar in connection with the fodder scam cases. Yadav said that he would now be going to Patna. “Main pata karoonga ki aakhir aisa kaun sa durlabh kaagaz hai jo CBI ko mil gaya (I will find out which precious paper the CBI has found in the raids),” he said.
Yadav also questioned as to how secretly and quickly the CBI registered the FIR and also got search warrants within no time. “Even the media could not get a wind of it,” he said.