The homes of three senior leaders of the Tejashwi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) were raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today in connection with the “land-for-jobs” case that alleges irregularities during his father Lalu Yadav’s tenure as Railway minister in the UPA-I government.
The raids were carried out on a day when the Nitish Kumar-led government backed by RJD takes a test of majority in the Assembly, two weeks after the Janata Dal (United) parted ways with the BJP and joined hands with RJD.
CBI teams reached the homes of RJD’s Rajya Sabha MPs Ahmad Ashfaque Karim and Dr Faiyaz Ahmad, and a Member of Legislative Council in Bihar, Sunil Singh this morning.
Former Chief Minister and Tejashwi Yadav’s mother Rabri Devi said, “They’re scared. A new government has been formed under the leadership of Nitish Kumar. All parties, except BJP, are with us. We have the majority. The CBI (raids) are just to scare us. We won’t be scared. This isn’t happening for the first time.”
“This is being done intentionally. There is no meaning. They are doing it hoping that our MLAs will join them out of fear,” Mr Singh said after his Patna home was raided.
An RJD spokesperson had tweeted last night that the CBI and other central agencies are preparing for raids because the BJP was “furious” over losing power in Bihar,
“Furious BJP allies CBI, ED, IT are preparing for raid in Bihar very soon. The gathering has started in Patna. Tomorrow is an important day,” he had tweeted.
Responding to the allegations that the raids are an attempt to create pressure on RJD leaders, BJP leader Ashok Sinha said these raids are being conducted against “some notorious politicians”. “Even RJD workers are happy today. They feel these people should meet this end,” he said.
In May this year, Lalu Yadav and several of his family members were charged in a corruption case alleging irregularities in recruitment for railway jobs between 2004 and 2009.
The CBI case alleges that Mr Yadav and his family members received land and properties as bribe for giving out railway jobs.
The RJD had then tweeted that numerous raids have been conducted in connection with the “so-called Railway scam” but nothing has been found.
“Lalu ji was Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009. If the CBI needs to conduct raids 13 years later, then you can understand what a nasty agency it is. The Lalu family will not bow and get scared,” the tweet in Hindi said.
In June, the CBI had arrested Lalu Yadav’s aide Bhola Yadav in connection with the case. The latest raids, CBI sources said, are based on information that came to light during Bhola Yadav’s questioning.