Lalu & Family May Face More Cases Over ‘Benami Properties’
Nearly 150 benami properties allegedly owned by RJD chief & family under scrutiny
Patna: Nearly 150 benami properties allegedly owned by the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and his family are under the scanner of the central and state agencies following the collapse of the mahagathbandhan or grand alliance in Bihar. BJP leader and new deputy chief minister Sushil Modi has vowed to bring more cases of corruption involving Prasad and his family to light, even as the RJD chief and his younger son, erstwhile deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, have started a campaign demanding action in the cases lodged against Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
“I have around nine cases. But I can explain those cases,” Modi told ET. “Five of them were lodged when Adhikar agitation (for demanding that the Centre grant special status to Bihar) was going on. Three of them are defamation cases slapped by Sadhu and Pappu Yadav. And a case was also lodged for rail roko. These cases cannot be equated with corruption charges worth thousands of crores against one particular family. They were never willing to explain those cases, they only shouted saying ‘political vendetta’.”
The benami properties allegedly owned by Prasad and his family are located in Patna, Delhi and Aurangabad. Besides the land and soil cases, Modi has alleged a sand mining scam against Prasad’s family members and other RJD leaders.
A police official said that a crackdown has been launched against RJD workers and supporters against whom criminal cases are lodged. “Around 100 men have already been rounded up. There are many cases, which were pending. All these cases will be investigated and all pending warrants will be executed,” said the official who did not want to be identified.
While Tejashwi Yadav is already being probed by the central investigating agencies for his alleged involvement in the land scam, cases including zoo soil case have been initiated against Prasad’s elder son and erstwhile state health minister Tej Pratap Yadav. Responding to Tejashwi Yadav’s claim that the Central Bureau of Investigation had initiated a case against him when he was a minor, Modi said, “According to the FIR, charges against Tejashwi pertain to 2014, when he became a director of the company which bought land worth .₹ 94 crore paying only .₹ 94 lakh. As far as Tej Pratap’s ca-
se is concerned, it is small in stature. It is a case in which a misappropriation of .₹ 40-50 lakh is involved. But the sand mining case is a more serious one. It will involve many RJD leaders and it is a case worth crores.”
Following the collapse of the grand alliance, investigations have begun in at least a dozen cases, some of which are fresh while the rest are old cases that have been reopened, officials said.