I-T raids properties in NCR linked to Lalu Prasad on benami deals charges

Published on May 17 2017 - - India - -

As the Income Tax (I-T) department raided various properties linked to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in National Capital Region (NCR) on the charges of alleged benami deals, the former Chief Minister and his family tried to show it is business as usual.

Taxmen have raided 22 locations in New Delhi and Gurugram on the charges of benami land deals worth Rs 1,000 crore. Properties of Lalu’s daughter and RJD MP Misa Bharti and senior RJD leader and former union minister Prem Chand Gupta were also raided in New Delhi. The I-T department has also searched a private property of Gupta, which Lalu uses as his Delhi residence.

The RJD chief, however, put up a brave face, saying he was “not scared at all” and will continue to fight against the “fascist forces”. As soon as the news came, the gates of his Patna house were closed and only the select few were allowed to go in. Soon after, Lalu called up his advocates and senior leaders of the party for a meeting in his house. First to arrive was Principal Deputy Advocate General Chitranjan Sinha, Lalu’s counsel in fodder scam case. When asked about his visit, Sinha said he came to discuss a matter related to fodder scam and not the I-T raids.

Then senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh arrived at Lalu’s doorstep. He termed the raids as the central government’s attempt to finish off opposition parties. In the next couple of hours, various leaders of the party arrived at Lalu’s house and offered their unconditional support to the embattled politician. His sons, Tejaswi and Tej Pratap, remained at their father side most of the time. Leaders said that Prasad was not in tension and he was instructing the leaders about the future course of action.

Prasad, later in the day, took Twitter to lambast the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He “congratulated” the BJP on “forging a new alliance” and asserted that he will keep fighting against the “fascist forces” till the last breath. RJD national spokesperson Manoj Jha, later, clarified Prasad’s “jibe” saying that the NDA government was “using” the I-T department, CBI and other central agencies as its “alliance partners” against its adversaries, including the RJD chief.

This comes after BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi revealed shady land dealings involving Prasad and his family member, particularly his sons Tejaswi and Tej Pratap Yadav. Lalu, who accepted of his family owning several land properties worth hundreds of crore, said there was nothing wrong in it.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar refused to comment on the matter. Kumar, on Monday, had dared the Centre to act against the first family of the RJD. He also said that the state government would not act against them. Janata Dal (United) leaders have refused to comment on the matter. Later in the evening, both Tejaswi and Tej Pratap attended a crucial cabinet meeting. Officials present said there was no tension. They said CM and Deputy CM spoke for a couple of minutes after the meeting as other ministers were leaving the room.

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