RJD boss Lalu Prasad Yadav alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah “orchestrated” the CBI raids today to “politically finish” him.
“The CBI raids have been orchestrated by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to politically finish me… Fansi ke fande par latak jayenge par tumko kamyab nahi hone denge (Ready to get hanged but won’t let you succeed),” Prasad told reporters after arriving here late in the evening from Ranchi.
Prasad was flanked by his son Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav and senior party leader and minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui at the press conference at the 10 Circular Road, the official residence of Rabri Devi where a 27-member CBI team had conducted a raid for more than 10 hours during the day.
The RJD chief questioned why the CBI was implicating Tejaswi, who was a minor at the time when the allotment of IRCTC hotels at Puri and Ranchi were made to private persons and his wife Rabri Devi, who did not hold any public office then.
Defending himself in the matter, Prasad denied any link between the sale of land in Patna and giving two IRCTC hotels at Ranchi and Puri on lease.
“The land of the Kochhars (Vijay and Vinay Kochhar directors of Sujata Hotels and owner of Chanakya Hotel, Delight marketing company) was registered in Patna in 2004, while the open tender of the two IRCTC hotels were given in 2006. So what is the linkage?” he questioned.
“The decision to allot the two hotels was taken during NDA rule itself before I became Rail minister in 2004 in UPA I. The lease of the two hotels was given to the highest bidder for 15 years at a licence fee of Rs 1.15 crore and there was no violation of any rules,” he said.
Asked about impact of the raids on the future of the alliance government headed by Nitish Kumar in Bihar, the RJD chief said the “Grand Alliance is intact … What has the coalition to do with the raids.”
He also called the channel “anti-national” but was quietened by Prasad who was heard telling his son “Why are you making news for them?”
Lalu said he would make public the entire issue at the August 27 rally of the party and give a call for the ouster of the BJP.
10 Circular Road residence was in the news throughout the day as CBI raids there started early in morning. The investigating agency’s team had, however, left the place before Lalu arrived from Ranchi where he had gone to appear in a case related to the fodder scam.
RJD legislators and supporters kept flocking outside the residence during the day to protest raids.
Apprehending trouble, the cars of the investigating agency were called inside the house and escorted with safety to prevent any untoward incident.
The CBI conducted raids across four cities. The raids started at 7 pm and were conducted in 12 locations in Patna, including the official residence of Rabri Devi, Ranchi, Gurgaon and Bhubaneswar.
CBI Additional Director CBI Rakesh Asthana told newsmen in Delhi that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched in pursuance of which BNR hotels of Indian Railways located at Puri and Ranchi were first transferred to the IRCTC and later on for its operations, maintenance and upkeep, it was given on lease to a private firm Sujata Hotel pvt ltd based in Patna.
“Allegation is that during this process, tender process was rigged and manipulated and the conditions were tweaked to help the private party (Sujata Hotel). In return, three acre land in western Patna was given to Delight Marketing which is known to the family of Lalu Yadav at a very low cost and subsequently between the period 2010 to 2014, this land was further transferred to another company Lara Projects owned by family members of Lalu Yadav,” he said.
This transfer also took place at a very low price. Whereas the land was valued at 32 crore as per the circle rate, it was transferred to merely 65 lakh to Lara Projects, Asthana said.