Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against Lalu Yadav alleging irregularities in awarding the tender for maintenance of hotels when he was Union Railways minister in 2008. The case was filed after CBI carried out searches at the premises of family members of Lalu this morning.
His wife Rabri Devi, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and his son Tejashwi, the then IRCTC MD, PK Goyal, and the wife of Yadav’s confidante Prem Chand Gupta, Sarla too have been booked, according to reports.
Reacting to the raids, Lalu’s party RJD alleged the BJP-ruled Centre of muzzling the opposition’s voice.
The Centre began tightening its noose around Lalu Prasad ever since he “announced a massive ‘Desh bachao, Bhajpa hatao rally’ on August 27 in Patna”, RJD’s Bihar unit president Ramchandra Purbey said.
“The CBI’s action is being carried out at the instance of the central government… This is the Centre’s vengeful action which is targeted against those who speak for protecting democratic values,” Purbey said.
The sources said the FIR relates to allegations of irregularities in the tender for development, maintenance and operation of BNR Hotels in Ranchi and Puri, awarded to the private Sujata Hotels in 2006.
The BNR Hotels are heritage hotels of the Railways which were taken over by the IRCTC from the public transporter earlier in the same year.
Searches are being conducted today at 12 locations including Delhi, Patna, Ranchi, Puri and Gurgaon, they said.
RJD chief Lalu Yadav was Union Railways minister in Congress-led UPA government between 2004-2009. Off-late, his family has been heat over alleged irregularities claimed by probe agencies.
The Centre has, meanwhile, rejected RJD’s allegations saying that the government and the BJP have no role in the CBI raids against Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family.
“What is political vendetta? Where is BJP in this? I am not able to understand. Do you mean to say that anybody against whom any charge is there, it should not be inquired into at all?” Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said.
“CBI is doing its duty and it is allowed to do so. Earlier it was not allowed… after our government came there is no interference and that is why CBI is free and acting as per the mandate given to it…,” he told reporters.
(With inputs from PTI)