Land for Jobs Scam: Lalu Prasad Yadav, Others Seek Documents, CBI Requests Delay

In a complex legal drama unfolding in New Delhi, Lalu Prasad Yadav, former Railway Minister, along with other accused in the alleged “land for jobs scam,” have petitioned the court for access to documents filed with the charge sheet. However, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought additional time to respond, citing a change in investigating officers.

CBI Faces Delay as Lalu Prasad Yadav and Associates Seek Access to Case Documents

The case revolves around accusations that during his tenure as Railway Minister (2004-2009), Lalu Prasad Yadav exploited his position to secure jobs for individuals in exchange for land transfers to his family members. This intricate web of alleged corruption stretches back to May 2022, when the CBI registered a case against Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi Yadav, and others.

Lalu Prasad Yadav family

Central Bureau’s initial charge sheet, filed in October 2022, named 16 accused, alleging that Yadav sought “pecuniary advantages” in the form of landed properties in his family’s name. These acquisitions supposedly coincided with appointments of substitutes in Group “D” posts across various railway zones. The charge sheet further claimed that these substitutes, primarily Patna residents, “sold & gifted their land in Patna” to Yadav’s family members or a company under their control.

Suspicions were further fuelled by the alleged lack of transparent recruitment processes for these substitute positions. No public advertisements or notices were issued, yet individuals from Patna conveniently landed jobs in diverse railway zones far from their hometown (Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Hazipur).

Lalu Prasad Yadav

The CBI conducted multiple raids in Delhi and Bihar, unearthing a potential pattern. According to their investigation, Yadav, “with intent to acquire land parcels,” allegedly conspired with associates and family members to lure landowners with railway jobs in exchange for their properties. Applicants from Patna seemingly submitted documents through Yadav’s associates, who then channelled them to the West Central Railway for job approvals.

Interestingly, the alleged scheme involved a two-step process: initially engaging individuals as substitutes and then securing their permanent positions. A recovered hard disk reportedly contained lists of candidates employed through this method.

Another intriguing detail involved a private company allegedly owned by Yadav’s family. This company supposedly purchased a land parcel for Rs. 10.83 lakh in 2007. Subsequently, this land, along with others acquired by the company, was transferred to Yadav’s wife and son through a mere Rs. 1 lakh share transaction. Notably, the company’s total land assets (estimated at Rs. 1.77 crore) were essentially handed over for a fraction of their market value.

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However, legal proceedings have hit a temporary snag. On December 20, 2023, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Rabri Devi, and Tejashwi Yadav, among others, petitioned the Rouse Avenue court for access to all documents filed with the charge sheet. This request aimed to provide the accused with a comprehensive understanding of the charges against them and prepare their defense accordingly.

On January 6, 2024, the CBI sought more time to respond to the accused’s plea. Their justification rested on the recent transfer of the investigating officer assigned to the case. CBI’s counsel argued that time was needed to familiarize the new officer with the intricacies of the investigation and prepare a suitable response to the document request.

Special Judge Vivek Gogne, acknowledging the situation, adjourned the hearing to January 15, 2024. Importantly, he emphasized the need for expeditious progress in the case due to directions received from the Delhi High Court. Gogne further warned that no further adjournments would be granted.

The upcoming hearing on January 15 promises further developments as the CBI responds to the accused’s plea and the court navigates the complexities of this high-profile scandal.

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