Land-for-jobs scam: CBI files fresh charge sheet against Lalu, Rabri

The charge sheet for the first time names Tejashwi as an accused

Lalu Prasad Yadav | PTI Lalu Prasad Yadav | PTI

The CBI on Monday filed a charge sheet against Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, his father and former railway minister Lalu Prasad, and mother and former chief minister Rabri Devi in connection with the land-for-jobs scam, officials said.

Though this is the second charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case before a special court, it is the first time that Tejashwi Yadav has been named as an accused.

Apart from the three members of the Yadav family, the federal agency has named 14 individuals and entities in the charge sheet.

The accused have been charged under Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and others in addition to provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

This comes days after over a dozen opposition parties, including Lalu Prasad's RJD, resolved to take on the BJP unitedly in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections at a crucial meeting in Patna.

The case pertains to Group-D appointments for 'substitutes' done in Western Central Zone based in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh when Lalu Prasad was the railway minister between 2004 and 2009 in return for land parcels gifted or transferred by the recruits in the name of Yadav's family or associates, according to officials.

A probe into similar recruitment in other railway zones is going on and will be part of future charge sheets, the officials said.

The CBI had filed the first charge sheet in October last year against Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi and others pertaining to the appointments in the Central Zone of Railways based in Mumbai.

During the probe, the agency had claimed to have found a hard disc from 10 Circular Road, Patna, which was used by Lalu Prasad as his camp office, containing a list of 1,458 candidates who were engaged in the Railways during his tenure.

The CBI has alleged that as the railway minister, Lalu Prasad entered into a criminal conspiracy with his family members and associates to grab the land of various people who aspired to have Group D employment as 'substitutes' in the Railways and be regularised later.

The agency has alleged that Lalu Prasad, with the help of his associates, identified land parcels and devised an "indirect plan" wherein candidates were first engaged as 'substitutes' and later regularised in the Railways when their family members gifted their land parcels to the family members or associates of Lalu Prasad at throwaway prices.

In its charge sheet filed on Monday, the CBI alleged that in order to hide any links between the jobs provided and land purchase, some land parcels were bought in the name of A K Infosystems.

The ownership of the company was transferred in the name of Tejashwi Yadav and Rabri Devi through share purchase at Rs 1 lakh, whereas the company had land parcels worth Rs 1.77 crore that had a much higher market value, it said.

The CBI alleged that Lalu Prasad took personal interest in following up the recruitment process with the general managers of the zones.

The payments for the land parcels were mostly shown to be made in cash, while there were also instances of transfer of land through gift deeds, the agency alleged.

The candidates were allegedly appointed as 'substitutes' in Group D positions within three days of applying in "undue haste" by railway officials and were later regularised when the "individuals themselves or their family members transferred their land", it said.

The CBI also alleged that a 1.05 lakh square feet plot in Patna was acquired by Lalu Prasad's family members by making payments to the sellers in cash.

ūüď£ The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines