The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday registered a case against Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi and son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav on allegations of corruption during his tenure as Railway minister in 2006, ANI reported. The agency is currently conducting raids at more than 12 locations, including their houses in Delhi, Gurugram, Patna, Ranchi and Puri.

The searches began at 5.30 am on Friday. Besides the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and his family members, former Managing Director of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation PK Goyal and Sarla, wife of Yadav’s close aide Prem Chand Gupta, have also been named in the CBI’s First Information Report, according to The Hindu reported.

Gupta served as the Minister of Corporate Affairs between 2007 and 2009.

‘BJP conspiracy’

Lalu Yadav, who is currently in Ranchi to appear before a CBI court in connection with the fodder scam, denied any wrongdoing.

“I have not done anything wrong,” he claimed. “I have nothing to do with the [IRCTC hotels] tender process. Everything was done according to the system.”

He further alleged that it was a “BJP conspiracy” to target him and his family repeatedly. “It is a political vendetta against me and family,” the RJD chief said. “They want us to bow before the BJP.”

CBI press conference

Addressing a press conference later on Friday, the agency said it was a case of “fraud and corruption”.

“Yadav had given private hotel firm [Sujata Hotels] a tender for BNR Hotels in Ranchi and Puri illegally when he was the railway minister,” CBI Additional Director Rakesh Asthana said, confirming that the agency was still carrying out a number of raids at multiple locations.

Former IRCTC Managing Director PK Goyal’s house in Gurugram, Haryana, was also raided in connection with the Railway hotel tender case. Security has been increased around Lalu Prasad’s house in Patna and the road leading to it.

Asthana further said that the former Bihar chief minister had acquired three acres in Patna worth Rs 32 crore for merely Rs 54 lakh. “The tender process was rigged and manipulated and the conditions were tweaked to help the private party,” he said.

RJD protests

Several RJD leaders gathered at Yadav’s house following the raids. They accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of “political vendetta”.

“Today is darkest day in Indian democracy,” RJD leader Manoj Jha told ANI. “We will not be cowed down by this. We will fight legally and politically.”

Dr RC Purvey, chief of the party’s Bihar unit, said it was “a conspiracy and politics of revenge”. “The alliance in Bihar is strong and we are united.”

The hotel tenders case

The CBI has alleged that there were irregularities in the tenders allotted to private company Sujata Hotels for the development and maintenance of BNR Hotels in Ranchi and Puri in 2006. BNR Hotels are the Railways’ heritage hotels, which the IRCTC took over from the BNR Transport the same year. In exchange for this favour, Yadav is believed to have received a two-acre plot in Patna, where a mall is being built at present.

Benami land case

On June 20, the Income Tax department had charged Lalu Yadav, his son Tejashwi, daughter Misa Bharti and wife Rabri Devi in another land scam case under the anti-benami transactions Act. Investigators had provisionally attached a few immovable properties in connection with its inquiry into the Rs 1,000-crore benami land deal and tax evasion case in which Yadav and his family are believed to have a hand.