Lalu Puts up a Brave Face following CBI/IT Raids in Delhi

RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav (file photo).

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New Delhi: Compounding to the problems of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Prasad Yadav who is back in news after the Supreme Court ordered the reopening of the multi-crore rupees Animal Husbandry scam, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday carried out simultaneous raids at 22 different locations in Delhi, Gurgaon, and other places where Yadav and his family members have purchased properties at dirt cheap prices under names other than their own (benami properties).

The combined value of these properties is said to be in excess of Rs. 1000 crore.

According to the reports, raids were conducted in posh localities like the New Friends Colony, Sainik Farm, and farmhouses in Bijwasan and other southern Delhi localities, and in Gurgaon where Yadav or one of his family members have purchased properties in the past 12 to 15 years in other people's name. These properties were later conveniently transferred in either Yadav, his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, or one of the many children of the RJD chief's name.

Income Tax officials, who also took part in the raid, said that all these properties were owned by Yadav or one of his family members adding searches were also being conducted at properties owned by the son of RJD MP P C Gupta.

Not surprisingly, an angry Yadav accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of launching a witch hunt against him and his family members saying the BJP was acting out of political vendetta and was trying to settle score for the party's humiliating defeat in the state Assembly elections.

Yadav said no one could intimidate him and he was more than happy to see them in the court.

In a series of tweets managed by his social media team, Yadav fired back at the BJP saying it did not have the power or guts to scare him away.

"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 power to muzzle my voice. If they tried to do so, hundreds of thousands of Lalus across the nation would come out in my favor. I am not the one who would be scared by the BJP's empty threats)," the man who remains a convict in the fodder scam and is out on bail, said in Patna.

BJP leaders rubbished Yadav's allegations saying the NDA government was not in the habit of interfering in the law and order functioning of the nation.

Senior party leader and a minister in the Modi administration Piyush Goyal rejected Yadav's charges saying the BJP did not believe in becoming an obstruction in the way of law enforcement agencies investigating any case.

As recalled, former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi, for the past couple of months, had presented a number of documents relating to the sale or transfer of properties in one of Yadav's family members' name raising suspicion of financial impropriety. The BJP leader has been demanding a high-level probe in Yadav and his family members' financial dealings with a number of businessmen who, Yadav claims, gifted high-valued properties to Yadav's two sons and other members of the family.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, demanding an CBI probe in Yadav family's financial dealings saying Yadav, as the Union Railway Minister in the UPA government, indulged in quid pro quo in return of properties in posh localities.

"Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had passed a law under which the government can confiscate the properties of corrupt officials and auction it. So, when is he going to act against Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members who have amassed properties way beyond their known means of income," Prasad asked.

Raids were also conducted at various known addresses of former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram in Chennai and other areas on charges of corruption and abuse of power.

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