07 July, New Delhi
The CBI Friday conducted raids at 12 locations of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, including his residence at 10 Circular Road in Patna in connection with irregularities committed in leasing out railway hotels at Ranchi and Puri to a private party.
Additional Director, CBI Rakesh Asthana told reporters in New Delhi that simultaneous raids were conducted early this morning at 12 locations in Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Delhi and Gurugram in connection with leasing out Railway hotels, when Lalu Prasad was Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009.
He said, the private hotel firm was awarded tender for BNR Hotel in Ranchi and Bhubaneswar illegally during Mr Prasad’s tenure as Railway Minister. Mr Asthana said the tender process was rigged to help private parties and three acres of land in Patna was given to Lara Projects, a firm owned by Lalu’s family, at lower circle rate.
Railway Hotels were leased to a private company owned by Kochar brothers, violating norms and family members of Mr Prasad had allegedly received a costly plot from them using company of RJD MP Prem Chandra Gupta as its conduit.
CBI had earlier registered a case against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, son, the then Managing Director of IRCTC, and some others in this connection.
Speaking on the development, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is in Rajgir, has called State Chief Secretary, DGP, Home Secretary and other senior officials to discuss the situations arising out of the raids. Nitish Kumar also called JDU spokespersons to Rajgir in this connection.
RJD Chief Lalu Prasad has said grand alliance government in Bihar is intact. Talking to reporters in Patna, Lalu Prasad said CBI raid has nothing to do with the functioning of Nitish Kumar led government in the state. He said the Centre is targeting him, but he will not surrender. Mr Lalu Prasad vowed to uproot Narendra Modi government.
RJD’s Bihar unit president Ramchandra Purbey has said, the CBI raids on Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family were being carried out at the instance of a Centre to muzzle the opposition’s voice. He said, the Centre’s action is targeted against those who speak for protecting democratic values.
On the other hand, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that the government and the BJP have no role in the CBI raids. He said, the CBI was doing its duty and acting in accordance with the mandate given to it by law.