Patna: In an early morning raid on the residences of RJD President Lalu Prasad and his family, a 25-member CBI team conducted searches in the former railway minister’s house at 10, Circular Road and simultaneously in 20 other locations.
The CBI team had reached Patna on Wednesday evening and entered the bungalow at 6 on Thursday morning. Lalu was away in Ranchi to appear at the special CBI court for the fodder scam case.
CBI had filed cases against Lalu, his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi; Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav; Sarla Gupta, wife of RJD MP and former company affairs minister Premchandra Gupta; in connection with the sale of two hotels of railways at Puri and Ranchi to an industrialist who later gifted his land at Saguna More in Patna, where Lalu’s family is constructing the “biggest mall of Bihar”.
The probe agency had simultaneously conducted raids at 20 more places of Lalu and his family in Patna, Ranchi, Puri, Gurgaon and New Delhi. A team also reached the Teen Murti Lane residence of the Guptas.
The sale and purchase of two prime hotels of railways took place in 2006 when Lalu was the railways minister and Gupta was the company affairs minister.
CBI officials while entering the Circular Road bungalow of Lalu said they had come following registration of FIR against Lalu, Rabri and Tejashwi.
Meanwhile, the Union forest and environment ministry in a counter affidavit filed at Patna High Court on Thursday admitted the “biggest mall of Bihar”was being constructed in violation of sections 4 and 5 of the environment rules of 1986 and the builder has been directed to stop further constructions. Lalu’s sons – Tejashwi and Tej Pratap – are owners of the mall.
Understanding the land for Hotel Scandal in Bihar
Lalu Prasad (pix) has been accused of facilitating a contract to a private company to run hotels when he was the Union railways minister in 2006 in exchange for a 3-acre plot in Patna.
The CBI alleges that the Patna land’s sale was arranged the same day a 15-year lease was given to an entrepreneur named Harsh Kocchar to run two hotels for the railways in Puri and Ranchi.
Kocchar sold the land to a company owned by the wife of an MP from Lalu Prasad’s party, Prem Kumar Gupta. Later, the land was transferred to Lalu’s wife and sons.
The land was severely undervalued during the transfer, said the CBI. The cost of the land was 32 crores but it was transferred to the family members of Lalu for a nominal amount of Rs 64 lakh.
The agency has also registered a case against the man who headed the IRCTC, P.K. Goyal.