WHILE SENIOR BJP leader Sushil Modi on Wednesday called RJD chief Lalu Prasad the “Robert Vadra of Bihar”, given the number of alleged benami properties he has acquired, the BJP is mounting pressure on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take action against Lalu Prasad’s family with the hope that any such move will break the Bihar coalition. The RJD has denied the allegations.
Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters in Delhi, Sushil Modi, who is leading a campaign against the RJD chief’s family members and accusing them of land grabbing, asked why Nitish had not taken action against the family.
“They have acquired more than 125 properties in the last 12 years without any real business or industry…(all) benami transactions,” Modi said. “Lalu Prasad is Bihar’s Robert Vadra. It is his (Lalu’s) nature to give ministerial berths in return for land.”
Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has been accused of acquiring properties allegedly in violation of rules.
Modi alleged that Lalu Prasad even sent two aides to Union ministers for relief from investigation by agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) but “they refused to intervene”.
He refused to give the names of the ministers who, he claimed, were approached, or the RJD leaders who allegedly met them.
Rejecting Sushil Modi’s latest charge that Rama Devi, then wife of an RJD minister and now a BJP MP, had gifted over 13 acres of land to his son Tej Pratap, a minister in the Nitish cabinet, Lalu Prasad on Wednesday presented a document stating that deed of gift given by Rama Devi in Tej Pratap’s name had been cancelled in 1993 as the papers were incomplete.
“Rama Devi’s family does fishery on the land (apparently gifted),” he said. The RJD chief also said, “He (Sushil Modi) should either apologise or we will file a defamation case against him.”
Rama Devi did not comment on the deed of gift. In Delhi, Modi, who was the deputy CM in Nitish Kumar’s government when the latter was in the NDA, also said, “He (Nitish) talks about zero tolerance (on corruption), but he didn’t take any action (against Lalu or his family members). He had earlier said the Centre should produce evidence and take action. Now, when they (agencies) have started taking (action), he is saying it is vindictive action.”
He alleged that the RJD chief acquired properties worth several crores through fraudulent means and gifted them to leaders who demanded election tickets.
BJP sources said Nitish was “uncomfortable” in the alliance as the RJD leadership had not given him a “free hand” in appointments or policy decisions, as against when he was in the NDA. “The actions of Lalu Prasad’s sons — Tejaswi and Tej Pratap Yadav (both ministers in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet) — do not go down well with Nitish’s temperament. He is undoubtedly uncomfortable,” the BJP leader added.
Nitish broke a 17-year alliance with the BJP in 2013, ahead of the party’s decision to make Narendra Modi its Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
While Nitish has reiterated that the Grand Alliance between the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress would remain intact in Bihar, the RJD has been careful in not criticising or making any public statement against the Chief Minister.