Patna: Tuesday saw CBI raids taking place in Bihar, as well as Jharkhand, in relation to the alleged land for job scam. According to earlier reports, CBI raids were taking place at RJD MLC Sunil Singh's Patna home. The raids have come just ahead of the floor test.
Residences of senior RJD leaders in Jharkhand and Bihar were raided just ahead of the Mahagathbandhan government moving a confidence motion in the Bihar assembly to prove their majority, in what is looking like a tactic by the BJP to express their displeasure at losing control of the governing coalition in Bihar.
The special session is set to commence on a stormy note on account of Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha's stout refusal to resign despite the new ruling dispensation's motion of no-confidence against him.
If the assembly is not adjourned following the vote over the motion against the speaker, the new government headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will also face the trust vote during the day.
Sinha, a senior BJP leader, evidently enjoys the backing of his party which has vowed to take on "Paltu Kumar", a pejorative it has coined for the chief minister and his many volte faces, and the new government which has been formed through "back door", a charge the party has, ironically, been facing since 2017.
"We have not taken a decision on leader of the opposition in the assembly. That does not top the agenda. We are looking forward to exposing Paltu Kumar and this new government, formed through back door, which has brought a no confidence motion," said Nitin Nabin, a BJP leader who lost his ministerial berth to the cataclysmic political developments in the state.
The 'Mahagathbandhan', which comprises the chief minister's JD(U), besides RJD, Congress, CPI(ML), CPI and CPI(M), has a combined strength of more than 160 in the 243-strong House.
The places raided included sites in Patna, Ranchi, Madhubani, Katihar, Phulwarisharif, and Hajipur.
The locations raided and being searched included:
• The residential premises of two MPs - Ashfak Karim and Faiyaz Ahmad
• Sunil Kumar Singh, a sitting MLC
• Former legislators - Abu Dojana and Subodh Rai
• RJD leader Prem Prakash
In addition, the CBI is also searching the BISCOMAN tower office of Sunil Kumar Singh.
Unconfirmed sources said that the raids are a follow-up action related to the 'land for jobs scam,' for which the CBI had registered FIRs against 15 people, including Lalu Yadav, Rabri Devi and deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, in June this year.
"It is being done intentionally. There is no meaning to it. They are doing it thinking that out of fear, MLAs will come in their favor," said Sunil Singh, RJD MLC and Chairman of Biscomaun Patna on CBI raid at his residence.
What did the CBI say?
The CBI registered a case against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, two daughters and 15 others, including unknown public servants and private persons.
"During the period 2004-2009 Yadav had obtained pecuniary advantages in the form of transfer of landed property in the name of his family members in lieu of appointment of Substitutes in Group 'D' Post in different zones of Railways," the official said.
A number of residents of Patna or through their family members sold and gifted their lands in the state capital in favour of the family members of Lalu Prasad and a private company controlled by the former chief minister and his family and they were also involved in transfer of such immovable properties.
"No advertisement or any public notice was issued for such appointment of substitutes in Zonal Railways, yet the appointees who were residents of Patna were appointed as Substitutes in different Zonal Railways located at Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur and Hajipur.
"In continuation of this modus operandi, about 1,05,292 Sq. feet land, immovable properties situated at Patna were acquired by Yadav and his family members through five sales deeds and two gift deeds, showing the payment made to the seller in cash in most of the land transfers," the CBI official said.
(with inputs from agencies)