ED claims Rs 600 cr in 'proceeds of crime' detected in raids against Lalu's kin, Tejashwi hits back
The opposition says the fresh raids of Lalu Yadav’s family are a bid to destabilise the mahagathbandhan government in Bihar ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday claimed that it had seized "unaccounted cash" of Rs 1 crore and detected “proceeds of crime” worth Rs 600 crore in the raids on RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s family in connection with the alleged ‘land for jobs’ scam.
However, Lalu Yadav's’ son and Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party (which by virtue of being in power at the Centre controls all the central agencies including the ED) reminding how in 2017 similar allegations were levelled against the Yadavs but nothing has come out of it so far.
He also dared the ED to release the seizure list instead of “planting misleading news” in the media.
In a series of tweets, the ED on Saturday said it had seized "unaccounted cash" of Rs 1 crore and detected “proceeds of crime” worth Rs 600 crore.
The ED had launched raids on Friday at multiple locations linked to Prasad's family members including that of Tejashwi Yadav.
Reacting to media reports about the raids, Tejashwi pointed out that in 2017 too it was claimed that illegal transactions and properties worth thousands of crores had been unearthed.
“Now before coming up with fresh allegations of Rs 600 crore, the BJPwallahs should have at least given the account of their old allegations to their sources,” he tweeted.
The Opposition says that the fresh raids by central agencies against Lalu Prasad are meant to destabilise the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) government in Bihar. The grand alliance has chief minister Nitish Kumar-led JD(U), Lalu Yadav-led RJD and the Congress as its main partners.
In 2017, too, after similar raids, Nitish Kumar had parted ways with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and formed the government with BJP. The alliance with JD(U) had given huge advantage to BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections that won 17 of the 40 seats.
Political observers say the BJP is wary of fighting the combined might of JD(U)-RJD alliance in Bihar in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and would play every trick up its sleeve to break this coalition.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) too had recently questioned the ailing Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi, who is also a former chief minister of Bihar, in the case.
It is alleged that people were given employment in the railways in return for land parcels gifted or sold at cheap rates to the Yadav family and its associates during Lalu Prasad's tenure as the railway minister in the UPA government from 2004 to 2009.
Tejashwi Yadav too was called for questioning by CBI on Saturday but did not appear and has sought a fresh date citing personal reasons, officials said.
Making a specific mention about Tejashwi Yadav, the ED said a property situated at D-1088, New Friends Colony in south Delhi is an independent 4-storied bungalow registered in the name of AB Exports Pvt Ltd. This company has been called a "beneficiary firm" in this case.
"The property has been though, on paper, declared as an office of AB Exports Pvt Ltd and AK Infosystems Pvt Ltd, it is being exclusively used as residential premises by Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, son of Lalu Prasad Yadav," it said.
During the searches, Tejashwi Yadav was found to be staying at this house and was found to be using this house as his residential property, the ED said.
Meanwhile, many Twitter users questioned as to why the Ed and CBI were not showing similar alacrity in Saradha and Narda ‘scams’ in which several political figures including Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and former West Bengal minister Subhendu Adhikari—both of whom are in BJP now—are among the accused.
Some also wondered as to why the “caged parrot” ED did not as much twitch a feather at the Hindenburg report that alleged in details how the Adani Group inflated the prices of their shares manifold through overseas shell companies.
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