A day after the Central Bureau of Investigation questioned former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi at her home in Patna in connection with an alleged land-for-jobs scam, the probe agency today reached her daughter Misa Bharti’s Pandara Road house to question former union railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in the same case. The CBI case, which names the Yadav couple and their daughters Misa and Hema, among others, is based on accusations that Mr Yadav and his family members bought land at cheap rates in exchange for jobs during his tenure as Union Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009.
Besides the veteran politician, his wife and his daughters, the FIR, registered in May 2022, names 12 people who allegedly got jobs in exchange for land. In July last year, Mr Yadav’s aide and former Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Bhola Yadav was arrested by the CBI in the case.
Notably, eight Opposition parties had just two days back shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging misuse of central agencies for the BJP’s political motives. Among the signatories was Rabri Devi’s son and Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav. The letter referred to former Bihar Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) patriarch Lalu Yadav among opposition leaders targeted by central agencies. It said the moves of central agencies “had often sparked suspicion that they were working as extended wings of the ruling dispensation”.
BJP leaders in Bihar have asserted that the CBI was “doing its job as an independent agency” in cases against RJD president Lalu Prasad who was “reaping what he had sown”.
The CBI filed a chargesheet last year under the offences of conspiracy and corruption. The FIR alleges that some people, despite being Patna residents, were appointed as substitutes in Group-D posts in railway zones of Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Hajipur. In return, it is alleged, these individuals transferred ownership of their land to Mr Yadav’s family members and a company later taken over by the family.
In some cases, it is alleged, land was transferred to the Yadavs at throwaway rates. The appointments, the CBI case says, were made in violation of the guidelines laid down by the Railways.
The RJD leaders have trashed the allegations, tagging them politically motivated. Rabri Devi last week said the BJP is scared of Mr Yadav. “We won’t run away. We are facing these allegations for the past 30 years. BJP is scared of Lalu Yadav in Bihar.”