The Rouse Avenue Court of Delhi on Friday issued summons to the individuals involved in the alleged land-for-job scam case, including former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, in response to a fresh chargesheet filed by CBI. Special Judge Geetanjali Goel acknowledged the fresh chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and issued summons to all the accused.
This marks the second chargesheet presented in the designated court, targeting a total of 17 accused individuals. Among them are the former Union Minister of Railways, his spouse, son, the then GM of West Central Railways (WCR), two former CPOs of WCR, private individuals, and a private company– all implicated in the land-for-job scam case. Recently, CBI filed charges against Lalu Prasad Yadav, his son Tejashwi Yadav, and others in connection with the alleged land-for-job scam.
The case was initially registered on May 18, 2022 against Lalu Yadav, his wife, two daughters, unknown public servants, and private individuals. The allegations revolve around the former Union Minister of Railways during the 2004-2009 period, who purportedly received financial benefits in exchange for transferring property to his family members. This was done in exchange for the appointment of substitutes in Group ‘D’ positions across various Railway Zones.
It was further claimed that these substitutes, who either resided in Patna or had family connections there, subsequently sold or gifted their Patna-based land to the family members of the Minister and a private company controlled by his family. This company was also involved in transferring such properties to the Minister’s family members. The appointments of these substitutes in Zonal Railways were allegedly made without any public notice or advertisement, with appointees from Patna being placed in different Zonal Railways located in Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Hazipur.
CBI conducted searches at various locations, including Delhi and Bihar, during the course of its investigation. The CBI stated, “During the investigation, it was found that the then Union Minister of Railways, with the intention of acquiring land in areas where his family already owned property or in areas connected to him, conspired with associates and family members to allegedly seize land from various landowners by offering/group D employment in Railways.”
The accused purportedly collected applications and documents from candidates through associates, which were then sent to West Central Railway for processing and job placement within the Railways. The General Managers of West Central Railways, under the influence or control of the accused, approved the engagement of these candidates, according to the CBI.
For the purpose of providing Railway jobs, they allegedly devised an indirect method whereby candidates were initially hired as substitutes and subsequently regularised.
The CBI also noted the recovery of a hard disk containing lists of engaged candidates during searches. Additionally, it was alleged that a private company purchased a parcel of land in 2007 for Rs 10.83 lakh, which was later transferred, along with other land parcels owned by the company, to the wife and son of the former Union Minister of Railways through a share transfer of Rs.1 lakh only.
The CBI further asserted that, at the time of the transfer, the company held land parcels valued at approximately Rs.1.77 crore, yet it was transferred for a mere Rs.1 lakh, significantly below the market value of the lands.
Land-for-job scam at a glance
The land-for-job scam, spanning nearly a decade, revolves around allegations of corruption and bribery that took place between 2004 and 2009 during Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tenure as the Railway Minister of India. This scandal involves the transfer of land plots to members of Lalu Prasad Yadav’s family in exchange for job appointments within the railways for Group ‘D’ Categories.
In September 2021, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) initiated a preliminary investigation, which subsequently resulted in the filing of a First Information Report (FIR). According to the CBI, Lalu Yadav allegedly misused his position to transfer land properties into the names of his family members.
The CBI also pointed out that Rabri Devi, the wife of Lalu Prasad Yadav, along with her daughter, acquired land in 2008 at significantly reduced prices from certain individuals. Allegedly, these individuals, who were involved in these land transfers, were later appointed to positions within the railways within a short three-month timeframe.
Lalu Prasad Yadav, his son Tejashwi Yadav, and his wife Rabri Devi have all been named in the second charge-sheet filed by the CBI.
The CBI identified 12 candidates who were appointed to railway positions during Yadav’s tenure as Railway Minister and were deemed undeserving. Furthermore, the investigation uncovered at least seven instances in which jobs were granted to candidates whose family members had transferred land to Lalu Prasad Yadav’s family.
Here are details of deals which are under investigation:
Deal 1: In 2008, Kishan Diu Rai from Patna transferred 33,375 square feet of land to Rabri Devi for Rs 3.75 lakh. Subsequently, three individuals from Rai’s family – Raj Kumar, Mithilesh Kumar, and Ajay Kumar – were appointed as substitutes in Group D positions within the Central Railway in 2008.
Deal 2: Sanjay Rai, a resident of Mahuabagh in Patna, sold 33,375 square feet of land to Rabri Devi for Rs 3.75 lakh. The CBI found that Rai and two other family members were given railway jobs.
Deal 3: Kiran Devi from Patna transferred 80,905 square feet of land to Lalu’s daughter, Misha Bharti, in 2007 for Rs 3.70 lakh. Later, her son Abhishek Kumar was appointed as a substitute in the Indian railways in Mumbai in 2008.
Deal 4: In November 2007, Hazari Rai from Patna sold 9,527 square feet of land to AK Infosystem Private Limited, a Delhi-based company, for Rs 10.83 lakh. The CBI discovered that two nephews of Rai, Dilchand Kumar and Prem Chand Kumar, were appointed as substitutes in the Western Central Railway in Jabalpur and the South Eastern Railway in Kolkata in 2006. According to an India Today report, during the investigation, the CBI found that the rights and assets of AK System were sold to Rabri Devi and Misha Bharti in 2014.
Deal 5: In March 2008, Brij Nandan Rai from Gopalganj transferred 33,375 square feet of land to Hridyanand Chowdhury for Rs 4.21 lakh. The CBI later discovered that Hridyanand was appointed as a substitute at the East Central Railways in Hazaribagh in 2005. Subsequently, Hridyanand Rai transferred the land to Lalu Yadav’s daughter, Hema Devi, in 2014 through a gift deed. The CBI noted that Hridyanand was not a relative of Hema Yadav, and the land’s price at the time of transfer was Rs 62 lakh. Deal 6: In 2008, Vishnu Dev Rai transferred 33,375 square feet of land to Lalan Choudhary. The CBI found that Lalan’s grandson, Pintu Kumar, was appointed as a substitute in the Western Railway in Mumbai in 2008.