Thu, 28 Jul 2022 11:48 AM IST
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's close aide Bhola Yadav was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday evening in connection with the "land-for-jobs" scam in the Indian Railways when the ex-Bihar Chief Minister was the Railway Minister in the Congress-led UPA government.
In addition to arresting Bhola, the central probe agency also conducted raids at four places - two each in Darbhanga and Patna - linked to Prasad's aide, who was his officer on special duty (OSD) from 2005-09.
"The CBI is receiving and expecting more complaints of such nature in the Railways during the tenure of Lalu Prasad as Railway minister and appeals to anyone having concrete information to share with the CBI. His or her identity will be kept secret," news agency PTI quoted a CBI official as saying.
WHAT THE IRCTC SCAM IS ALL ABOUT?
Prasad was the Railway Minister from 2005-09. It is alleged that during his tenure, land measuring over one lakh square feet belonging to job aspirants' families in Patna was allegedly purchased or transferred to Prasad's family members in return for group-D jobs in the Railways as substitutes.
It is alleged that residents of Patna, themselves or through their family members, sold or gifted their lands in the city to Prasad's family members and a private firm that was reportedly controlled by them.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, no public notice or advertisement was issued for an appointment of substitutes in Zonal Railways. However, people from Patna were appointed as substitutes in the Railways in different cities such as Kolkata, Mumbai, Jaipur, etc.
"The current value of the above said seven parcels of land, including the land acquired through gift deeds, as per the existing circle rate is about Rs 4.39 crore... Enquiry has revealed that the parcel of land, which was directly purchased by the family members of Lalu Prasad Yadav from the sellers, was purchased at lower rates than the prevailing circle rates," as per the CBI FIR registered on May 18.
WHAT WAS BHOLA YADAV's ROLE IN THE IRCTC SCAM?
The CBI suspects that Bhola Yadav, fondly referred to as "Hanuman" or the "shadow" of Prasad among the RJD supporters, played a crucial role in facilitating the jobs and later, the transfer of land to the RJD chief's family. It believes Bhola also purchased some properties during the period.
"During investigations, it was found that the then OSD to former railway minister...was involved in the alleged conspiracy in appointment of substitutes. It was further alleged that the accused was managing affairs in transfer of land by the family members of substitutes to the family members of former railway minister," PTI quoted a CBI spokesperson as saying.
Besides Bhola, the agency has also arrested a railway employee, Hridayanand Choudhary, who is an alleged beneficiary of the scam.
The CBI has claimed that Choudhary was allegedly appointed as a substitute in 2005 in the East Central Railway and had transferred the land to Prasad's daughter Hema Yadav through a gift deed when the value of land was Rs 62.10 lakh as per prevailing circle rates.
This 3,375 square feet of land in Patna was transferred to Choudhary by Brij Nandan Rai through a sale deed for Rs 4.21 lakh.
CBI RECOVERS DIARY
Bhola and Choudhary have been sent to CBI custody till August 2. According to a report by Dainik Jagran, the CBI has also recovered a diary from Bhola's residence in the Chhapkahi village of Darbhanga. The diary reportedly has details about the IRCTC scam.
Based on the details available in it, the CBI will question Bhola and Choudhary, the Dainik Jagran report claimed.