The CBI on Friday filed a chargesheet against former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and daughter Misa Bharti among 16 accused in connection with its probe into the “land for job” case. Agency sources said those chargesheeted also include two senior railways officials apart from the beneficiaries of the “irregular” employment.
The case pertains to allegations that Lalu Prasad and his family took land to provide jobs to people in the Indian Railways.
The CBI had booked Lalu and his family members in a fresh case of corruption in May this year. The agency had named as many as 16 people, including Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi, his daughters Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav, as accused in the FIR.
Those chargesheeted on Friday also include Sowmya Raghvan, the then GM, Railways; Kamal Deep Mainrai, the then CPO, Railways; alleged beneficiaries appointed as railway substitutes Rajkumar Singh, Mithlesh Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Sanjay Kumar, Dharmendra Kumar, Vikas Kumar, and Abhishek Kumar; and alleged middlemen Ravindra Rai, Kiran Devi, Akhileshwar Singh and Ramashish Singh.
“During investigation, it has been found that the accused in conspiracy with the then GM Central Railways and CPO, Central Railways engaged persons as substitutes in lieu of land either in their name or in the name of their close relatives. This land was acquired at prices lower than the prevailing circle rate and much lower than the market rate. It was also alleged that the candidates have used false TC and submitted false attested documents to the Ministry of Railways,” a CBI statement said.
Following its FIR in May, the agency had also launched search operations at 17 locations on premises associated with Lalu and his family members, including his daughter Misa Bharti, among others.
The case, according to the central probe agency, is based on allegations that Lalu allegedly took land plots as bribes to give jobs to people when he was the railways minister in the UPA government.
The agency has alleged as many as 12 people from Patna were appointed in Group D posts in the Indian Railways, and in lieu Lalu’s family got seven plots of land in Patna and elsewhere for a pittance. All these plots belonged to the families of those 12 people who got the job.
According to the CBI, Lalu’s family acquired over 1 lakh sq ft of land in this way for a meagre Rs 26 lakh when the then circle rate puts the cumulative value of the land at over Rs 4.39 crore.
The CBI initiated a preliminary inquiry in this regard in September last year.
In August this year, when the newly-formed JDU-RJD government was facing trust vote in the Bihar Assembly, the CBI raided multiple locations in connection with the case which included premises of four senior RJD leaders and a mall in Gurgaon which CBI claimed was linked to Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, a charge denied by him.
The raids were also carried out at the premises of RJD treasurer and MLC Sunil Singh as well as two Rajya Sabha MPs from the party, Faiyaz Ahmad and Shfaq Karim. Apart from this, premises associated with former RJD MLC Subodh Rai were also raided.
In July, the CBI had arrested Bhola Yadav, the former OSD to Lalu when the latter was the railways minister, and a railway employee.
The CBI had in 2018 chargesheeted Lalu, his wife Rabri and son Tejashwi in the IRCTC case where it is alleged that as the railways minister, Lalu favoured a company in awarding contracts of two IRCTC hotels for operation and maintenance. His family allegedly received a prime piece of land in Patna at a throwaway price from the owners of the company that bagged the contract as quid pro quo.