Land-for-job case: Lalu Yadav, Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti get bail in CBI case

15 March, 2023 | Pragati Singh

CBI National

All candidates who were hired as substitutes were later regularised.

On Wednesday, the Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi granted regular bail to former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Rabri Devi, and their daughter Misa Bharti, as well as other accused in connection with the alleged land-for-job scam. While granting regular bail on Wednesday, Special Judge Geetanjali Goel noted that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had not arrested any of the accused in the case and that the chargesheet had been filed without arrests.

The Court ordered that each accused to provide a Rs 50,000 personal bail bond and a similar amount as surety. The case will be heard again on March 29. Lalu Yadav was seen arriving in a wheelchair at the Rouse Avenue Court.

Three months ago, the former Chief Minister of Bihar underwent a kidney transplant in Singapore. Advocate Mudit Jain, who appeared on behalf of several accused (landholders) in the case, stated that the CBI chose not to arrest the accused person, which is evidence of their cooperation. The allegations are based on the assumption that the sale was for fair value.

In its chargesheet filed in connection with the alleged land-for-job scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stated that irregular appointments of candidates were made in Central Railway, violating the laid down norms and procedures of Indian Railways for recruitment.

According to the CBI, the candidates sold land to the family members of Lalu Prasad Yadav (then Union Railway Minister) at highly discounted rates ranging from one-fifth to one-fifth of the prevailing market rates as a form of payment.

The probe agency further stated that investigation has revealed that Lalu Prasad Yadav during the period 2007-08, when he was Union Railway Minister, with the intent to acquire the land parcels situated in Village Mahuabagh, Patna, and Village Kunjwa, Patna which were situated adjacent to the land parcels already owned by his family members; entered into a criminal conspiracy with his wife Rabri Devi, daughter Misa Bharati, Officers of Central Railways namely Sowmya Raghvan the then General Manager, Kamal Deep Mainrai, the then Chief Personnel Officer, and residents of VillageMahjabagh, Patna and VillageBindaul, Bihta, Patna and Patna City namely Raj Kumar Singh, Mithlesh Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Sanjay Kumar, Dharmendra Kumar, Vikas Kumar, Abhishek Kumar, Ravindra Ray, Kiran Devi, Akhileshwar Singh, Ramashish Singh.

According to the CBI, all candidates who were hired as substitutes were later regularised. In lieu of appointing them to the Railways, Lalu Prasad Yadav transferred the lands owned by the candidates and their family members into the names of his wife Rabri Devi and Misha Bharti for a much lower price than the prevailing circle rates and market rates.

Previously, the court stated, after reviewing the chargesheet and the documents and material on record, that prima facie shows the commission of offences under Section 120B read with Sections 420, 467, 468, and 471 IPC and Sections 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 (2) read with Section 13 (1) (d) of the PC Act, 1988, and substantive offences thereof.

As a result, the aforementioned offences are recognised. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed the chargesheet against former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi, their daughter Misa Bharti, and 13 others in the land-for-jobs scam in October last year.

Chargesheet stated that “During the investigation, it has been found that the accused in conspiracy with the then GM Central Railways and CPO, Central Railways engaged persons as substitutes in lieu of land either in their name or in the name of their close relatives. This land was acquired at prices lower than the prevailing circle rate and much lower than the market rate. It was also alleged that the candidates have used false TC and submitted false attested documents to the Ministry of Railways,” the CBI claimed in a press statement.

The alleged scam occurred between 2004 and 2009, while Yadav was Railway Minister. The charge sheet also includes the name of the then-Railway General Manager, in addition to the RJD leader.

According to the CBI, the investigation revealed that the candidates were considered for their engagement without the need for Substitutes and there was no urgency for their appointment, which was one of the main criteria behind the engagement of Substitutes, and they began their duties much later after their appointment was approved and they were subsequently regularised.

There were several anomalies discovered in the candidates’ applications and the documents that were enclosed, which meant that the applications should not have been processed and their engagement should not have been approved, but it was. Furthermore, in most cases, the candidates began working in their respective divisions on many later dates, defeating the purpose of the appointment of Substitutes. In some cases, the candidates could not clear their medical examination under the required category to which their engagement was made, and they were subsequently considered and appointed to the posts where an inferior or lower medical category was required, according to the CBI.