Land-for-jobs: ED summons Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu Yadav for questioning

Tejashwi has been asked to appear on Dec 22, Lalu on Dec 27

Lalu Prasad Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav | PTI Lalu Prasad Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav | PTI

The Enforcement Directorate has summoned Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav and his father and RJD chief Lalu Prasad for questioning in the railways land-for-jobs money laundering case probe, official sources said on Wednesday.

While Tejashwi (34), has been asked to depose before the federal probe agency at its office in Delhi on December 22, Prasad (75), has been asked to appear next week on December 27 to record their statements under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ED has once questioned Tejashwi for about eight hours in this case on April 11 but this is the first time it has summoned Prasad for joining the probe.

The summons comes following the questioning of an alleged "close associate" of the Lalu Prasad family, Amit Katyal. He was arrested by the ED in November.

The alleged scam pertains to the period when Prasad was the railway minister in the UPA-1 government.

It is alleged that from 2004 to 2009, several people were appointed to Group "D" positions in various zones of the Indian Railways and in lieu, these people transferred their land to the family members of the then railway minister Prasad and a linked company named A K Infosystems Private Limited.

Katyal was the director of this company when it acquired land from candidates "on behalf" of Lalu Prasad, the ED had earlier claimed in a statement.

"The registered address of the company is D-1088, New Friends Colony, New Delhi, which is the house belonging to Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members," the agency had alleged. "Several other lands were also acquired by Amit Katyal in the said company in return for giving undue favours by Lalu Prasad Yadav when he was minister of railways," the agency said.

After acquiring the land, it said, shares of the said company were "transferred" to the family members of Lalu Prasad in 2014.

The ED case, filed under the criminal sections of the PMLA, stems from a complaint lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and Tejashwi have been granted bail by a trial court in October after the CBI filed a charge sheet against them in this case.

The RJD is a constituent party of the INDIA bloc of opposition parties that is planning to take on the BJP in the upcoming general elections of 2024.

According to the CBI, no advertisement or public notice was issued for appointment, but some residents of Patna were appointed as substitutes in different zonal railways in Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur and Hazipur.

As a quid pro quo, the candidates, directly or through their immediate family members, allegedly sold land to Prasad's family members at highly discounted rates, up to one-fourth to one-fifth of the prevailing market rates, the CBI alleged.

Over the last few months, the ED has recorded the statements of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo's wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, their daughters Misa Bharti (RJD MP in Rajya Sabha), Chanda Yadav and Ragini Yadav in this case.

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