The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday said that it recovered unaccounted cash of Rs 1 crore and detected proceeds of crime worth about Rs 600 crore during its searches in connection with an alleged corruption case against former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.
The central agency on Friday carried out searches in Patna, Phulwari Sharif, Delhi, Ranchi and Mumbai on the premises of relatives of the former chief minister and on homes of other Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders.
The case pertains to allegations that Yadav took land from job aspirants in return for employment with the railways. The scam allegedly took place when he was the Union Railway minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.
“ED conducted searches at 24 locations in the Railways Land for Job Scam, resulting in recovery of unaccounted cash of Rs 1 Crore, foreign currency including US $1900 [over Rs 1.55 lakh], 540 gms gold bullion and more than 1.5 kg of gold jewellery,” the agency said on Saturday.
The Enforcement Directorate also said that a bungalow situated at New Friends Colony in south Delhi is registered in the name of AB Exports Private Limited, which the agency has alleged to be a “beneficiary firm” in the case, PTI reported.
The company is “owned and controlled” by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and his family, according to the Enforcement Directorate. The agency said that the bungalow was acquired at a value of just Rs 4 lakh while its present market value is about Rs 150 crore.
“It is suspected that huge amount of cash/proceeds of crime has been infused in purchasing this property and few Mumbai-based entities, dealing in the gems and jewellery sector were used to channel ill-gotten proceeds of crime in this regard,” the Enforcement Directorate alleged, according to PTI.
Commenting on the searches on Saturday, Tejashwi Yadav said that central agencies had made similar claims about having unearthed illicit transactions in the past as well, but were yet to account for them.
“In 2017, allegations were made about transactions worth Rs 8,000 crore, a mall worth thousands of crores and hundreds of properties,” he said on Twitter. “Just a few months ago, a company called Whiteland in Gurugram and its [Urban Cubes] Mall were also found. Before the BJP makes new claims about Rs 600 crore, it should give the accounts about old claims to its sources.”
In October, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a chargesheet against Yadav, his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi as well as 13 others in the case. The Enforcement Directorate is investigating allegations of money laundering in the matter.
The central agency has alleged that candidates were appointed as substitutes in Group D positions in the Railways within three days of applying in “undue haste”. The appointments were later regularised when the “individuals themselves or their family members transferred their land”, the agency alleged.