Land-for-jobs scam: ED pegs market value of land at ₹200 crore; Tejashwi cries vendetta

Land-for-jobs scam: ED pegs market value of land at ₹200 crore; Tejashwi cries vendetta

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has pegged current market value of land allegedly acquired in exchange for jobs by Lalu Yadav’s family when he was the Union Railway Minister at approximately ₹200 crore.

In a statement released on Sunday, the central agency also gave a long list of other assets that it alleged Yadav’s family acquired in the case that came to be known as Bihar land-for-jobs scam. “PMLA investigation conducted so far has revealed that several pieces of land at prominent locations in Patna and other areas were illegally acquired by the family of the then Rail Mantri Lalu Prasad Yadav in lieu of jobs provided in railways,” the ED said in a statement, referring to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Also read: ED seizes ₹1 cr unaccounted cash, detects ₹600 cr proceeds of crime in raids on Lalu’s kin

Tejashwi’s challenge

The CBI has also summoned Lalu’s son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav for questioning in the land-for-jobs scam. However, soon after the ED released its statement, Tejashwi slammed the BJP government for “spreading rumours” and challenged it to release the “seizure list” that contains all names.

“Instead of spreading rumours here and there and getting news planted by quoting sources, the list of the panchnama (seizure list) should be made public. If we make it public, will these poor politicians have any respect left? Think,” the Bihar Deputy Chief Minister tweeted in Hindi, alleging no cash was seized from his place and the ED’s statement was a bluff.

The ED said searches at 24 locations in Delhi-National Capital Region, Patna, Mumbai and Ranchi led to the recovery of unaccounted ₹1 crore cash, foreign currency of $1,900, 540 gram gold bullion, over 1.5 kg of gold jewellery worth ₹ 1.25 crore and property documents in the name of Lalu’s family members.

Also read: Nitish sees repeat of 2017 in CBI, ED action against Lalu, Tejashwi

ED on land deals

The ED alleged four land parcels acquired by Lalu’s kin for just ₹7.5 lakh from poor Group-D applicants were sold to former RJD MLA Syed Abu Dojana by his wife Rabri Devi for ₹3.5 crore in a “collusive deal”. It alleged a big portion of the amount was sent to Tejashwi Yadav’s account. “In many railways zones, more than 50 per cent of recruited candidates were from Lalu Yadav family’s constituencies,” the ED said in the statement.

Top RJD leaders and even their ally and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar have dismissed all the allegations by the ED as “politically motivated”.

Sources close to Tejashwi had flayed the timing of the central agency search at his house, saying they never expected this kind of vendetta politics from the BJP when his wife is expecting a child. His sister said her family was being “tortured” only because they never bent in front of “fascists and rioters”.

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