New Delhi: Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav has reacted to the Enforcement Directorate’s claim that proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 600 crore were detected during searches on premises owned by him and his family as part of the land-for-jobs case.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal leader, responding to news agency reports on the ED’s claim (which the agency also tweeted through its official handle), asked the Bharatiya Janata Party to make public the list of items seized from his houses.
“Remember, in 2017 also, there was an alleged transaction of Rs 8000 crores, a mall worth thousands of crores, hundreds of properties, and now just a few months ago the Urban Cubes mall of WhiteLand Company was found in Gurugram.
“Now before making new allegations of Rs 600 crores, BJP should have given an account of the old cases to its sources,” he said in Hindi.
The ‘Urban Cubes’ reference pertains to allegations that he was linked to a mall seized in Gurugram, which, it was eventually learned, was owned by a private company.
याद करिए- 2017 में भी कथित 8000 करोड़ का लेन-देन, हजारों करोड़ का मॉल, सैंकड़ों संपत्तियां, अभी चंद महीनों पहले गुरुग्राम में अरबों का WhiteLand कंपनी का UrbanCube मॉल भी मिला था।
भाजपाई अब कथित 600 करोड़ का नया हिसाब लाने से पहले अपने सूत्रों को पुराने का तो हिसाब दे देते 😇🤗 https://t.co/nI6siUh5mu
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) March 11, 2023
“Instead of spreading misleading rumours here and there or quoting sources which are planted by the BJP government, the list of the panchnama (seizure list) signed after the raid should be made public. If we make it public then who will respect these poor leaders? Think,” wrote Tejashwi.
Hours before Tejashwi’s tweets, the ED had tweeted that it seized Rs one crore in “unaccounted cash” and detected proceeds of crime worth Rs 600 crore after raids on 24 locations against Lalu Prasad, Tejashwi and their family.
Searches resulted in detection of Proceeds of Crime amounting to Rs 600 Crore approximately at this point of time .
— ED (@dir_ed) March 11, 2023
News agency Press Trust of India reported ED as having said that it suspected that a huge amount of proceeds of crime was infused into purchasing a house in New Friends Colony in south Delhi that Tejashwi was using as his residential property.
The house, which was among the locations raided on Friday when Tejashwi was staying there, was shown to have been acquired at a value of a mere Rs 4 lakh while the present market value is approximately Rs 150 crore, the agency claimed.
“An investigation is underway to unearth more investments made on behalf of Prasad’s family and their associates in various sectors, including real estate,” the ED said in a statement.
The statement also said
“Searches resulted in the recovery of unaccounted cash of Rs 1 crore, foreign currency including USD 1,900, 540 gms gold bullion and more than 1.5 kg of gold jewellery worth about Rs1.25 crore.”
“Several other incriminating documents including various property documents, sale deeds, etc. held in the names of family members (of Lalu Prasad) and benamidaars indicating illegal accretion of huge land bank and electronic devices,” it said.
The ED has claimed that a house in Delhi’s New Friends Colony though on paper declared as an office of A B Exports Private Limited and AK Infosystems Pvt Ltd, was used as a residential building by Tejashwi.
It said the raids resulted in the “detection of proceeds of crime amounting to about Rs 600 crore at this point of time which is in the form of immovable properties of Rs 350 crore and transactions of Rs 250 crore routed through various benamidaars“.
PTI has reported that the CBI has filed a charge sheet in the land-for-jobs case against Lalu Prasad, his wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi and 14 others under charges of criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and all the accused have been summoned on March 15 by a special court.
On Saturday, Tejashwi did not appear for interrogation by another central agency, the CBI, in the case and sought a fresh date citing personal reasons. He was reported as having been at hospital with his pregnant wife. Some reports have said that she fell ill because of the raids.
संघ और भाजपा के विरुद्ध मेरी वैचारिक लड़ाई रही है और रहेगी। इनके समक्ष मैंने कभी भी घुटने नहीं टेके हैं और मेरे परिवार एवं पार्टी का कोई भी व्यक्ति आपकी राजनीति के समक्ष नतमस्तक नहीं होगा।
— Lalu Prasad Yadav (@laluprasadrjd) March 10, 2023
“We have also seen the dark phase of Emergency. We fought that battle too. Today my daughters, little granddaughters and pregnant daughter-in-law have been kept sitting for 15 hours by the BJP ED in baseless vindictive cases. Will BJP stoop to such a low level and fight a political battle with us?” Lalu had tweeted a day ago.
His party’s RJD Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Kumar Jha has urged the BJP’s Narendra Modi-led government to “stop giving the central agencies a script.”
"भाजपा ने CBI-ED-IT जैसी संस्थाओं का चरित्र धूमिल कर दिया है……किसी की लिखी लिखाई स्क्रिप्ट लेकर कहीं भी पहुंचने को मजबूर है CBI,ED,IT…."
— युवा राजद (@yuva_rajad) March 10, 2023
A number of opposition parties have criticised the new spate of activity against opposition leaders by central agencies. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said it was a repeat of what happened in 2017. Nitish heads the Janata Dal (United) which broke away from the BJP to join Tejashwi’s RJD in the Bihar government.
“What do I have to say, those who are at the receiving end are giving an adequate response… similar things happened in 2017 when I was on this side. Now that I am here again, these things are happening again,” Nitish said, according to PTI.