Fresh summons to Misa Bharti in benami land deal case

RSTV Bureau
File photo of RJD MP Misa Bharti with father and RJD chief Lalu Prasad. (PTI)

File photo of RJD MP Misa Bharti with father and RJD chief Lalu Prasad. (PTI)

The Income Tax Department has issued fresh summons to RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti who is also a member of Parliament. The summon was issued in connection with the Rs 1,000 crore alleged benami land deals and tax evasion case.

The couple are alleged to have links with a firm– Ms Mishail Packers and Printers Private Limited– which is suspected to have entered into benami deals for purchase of a farm house in Delhi’s Bijwasan area.

On Tuesday, Bharti was supposed to appear before the investigating officer (IO) but she failed to appear before the officer. She has now been asked to appear before the IO on June 12, officials said.

It is understood that a lawyer representing the Rajya Sabha MP wanted to depose before the IO but the summons required her to appear in person.

Bharti’s husband Shailesh Kumar has been summoned to appear in person in the same case by the department on Wednesday.

Officials said that the summonses to Bharti and Kumar are part of the investigation in the case and their statements will be recorded.

The I-T department had conducted multiple searches against the couple last month.

The RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav had put up a brave face after the raids, saying he was “not scared at all” and will continue to fight against “fascist forces”.

“BJP mein himmat nahi hai ki Lalu ki awaz ko daba sake… Lalu ki awaz dabayenge to desh bhar me karoron Lalu khare ho jayenge… Main gidarbhabhki se nahi darne wala hoon (BJP does
not have the courage to stifle my voice… If it tries to silence one Lalu, crores of Lalu will come forward. I am not scared of empty threats),” Lalu had said on Twitter.

A chartered accountant, Rajesh Kumar Agrawal, allegedly linked to Bharti and others was also arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on May 22. Agrawal is alleged to have aided in llegal transactions involving Lalu’s kin.

I-T department officials had said they will apply provisions of the newly enacted Benami Transactions Act, 1988, which became operational from November 1 last year, in this case. The law provides for a maximum punishment of seven years in jail and a fine.

The action under this new law will be over and above the legal proceedings under the Income Tax Act, 1961, which relates to charges of domestic tax evasion.

The BJP had accused Lalu, Bharti and his two sons Tejashwi and Tej Pratap, both Bihar government ministers, of being involved in corrupt land deals worth over Rs 1,000 crore, and asked the central government to probe one such transaction in Delhi.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had alleged that these transactions were a case of “quid pro quo”, suggesting that money was paid in return for favour, as they dated back to the period when Lalu was the railway minister, and dared Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take action against him.

Lalu’s RJD is a constituent of Bihar’s ruling coalition led by Kumar.

(With inputs from PTI)