Land for Jobs Scam: Rouse Avenue Court Sends Businessman Amit Katyal to ED Custody till Nov 16


Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court has sent businessman Amit Katyal, promoter of AK Infosystems to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) remand till November 16.
Special Judge Nyay Bindu, after going through the submissions made during the hearing, extended Amit Katyal’s custody until November 16, 2023.
Katyal was apprehended by the ED in connection to an alleged land-for-jobs scam. He is known to have close ties to Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav.
Recently, the Delhi High Court declined to dismiss the Enforcement Directorate (ED) proceedings against Amit Katyal, accused of engaging in transactions with the family members of former railways minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. Representing the accused, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa opposed the ED’s request for custody. He argued that the initial FIR was filed by the CBI on May 18, 2022, covering transactions between 2004 and 2009. “The ED initiated an ECIR in August 2022 in relation to this case. The CBI concluded the investigation, and I am cited as a protected witness. My arrest is in violation of Section 19,” the lawyer contended on behalf of Katyal. In March of this year, acting on specific intelligence, the ED conducted searches at 24 locations across Delhi NCR, Patna, Mumbai, and Ranchi concerning the Railways land-for-job scam.
The searches led to the discovery of unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 1 crore, foreign currency including USD 1900, 540 grams of gold bullion, and over 1.5 kilograms of gold jewelry (approximately valued at Rs 1.25 crores). Various other incriminating documents, property papers, and sale deeds held in the names of family members and benamidaars indicating unlawful accumulation of extensive land bank and electronic devices were also seized.
The searches exposed proceeds of crime totaling approximately Rs 600 crores at the time, involving immovable properties worth Rs 350 crores and transactions amounting to Rs 250 crores routed through various benamidaars, as stated by the ED. As per the ED’s investigation under PMLA, it was revealed that multiple pieces of land in prominent locations in Patna and other areas were illegally acquired by Lalu Prasad Yadav’s family in exchange for railway jobs. The present market value of these land parcels surpasses Rs 200 crores. The investigation identified several benamidars, shell entities, and beneficial owners connected to these lands. Additionally, the investigation unveiled that a property in New Friends Colony, Delhi, registered under AB Exports Private Limited, was allegedly acquired for a mere Rs 4 lakhs while its present market value stands at approximately Rs 150 crores. The ED suspects a significant amount of cash or proceeds of crime was used to obtain this property, and Mumbai-based entities dealing in gems and jewelry were potentially involved in channeling the illicit proceeds.
The property is declared as the office of AB Exports Private Limited and AK Infosystems Pvt Ltd but is exclusively used as a residential space by Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, the son of Lalu Prasad Yadav. Tejashwi Prasad Yadav was found residing at this residence during the searches. The ED’s investigation uncovered a deal where four land parcels were sold by Rabri Devi to Syed Abu Dojana, an Ex-RJD MLA, for a hefty profit of Rs 3.5 crores, after being initially bought from poor Group-D applicants for Rs 7.5 lakhs. The inquiry further revealed that a significant portion of the received amount was transferred to Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s account. It was found that lands were acquired from numerous impoverished parents and candidates in exchange for Group D jobs in the Railways. Investigations exposed that in many Railway Zones, over 50% of recruited candidates hailed from Lalu Yadav’s family constituencies, according to the ED.