The Income Tax Department conducted raids and surveys on at least 22 locations in Delhi and Gurgaon in connection with the alleged benami land deals linked to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.
The department started raiding the premises of some prominent businessmen and real estate agents in Delhi, Gurgaon, Rewari and few others since early morning, said the officials. The searches come just days after the BJP had accused Lalu Prasad, his MP-daughter Misa Bharti and his two sons, who are both government ministers of Bihar. Allegations were made by the BJP that Lalu and his family members were involved in corrupt land deals worth more than Rs 1,000 crore.
The searches are also being conducted at the premises of the son of RJD MP PC Gupta and few other businessmen. The officials said that while raids are being conducted at a number of locations, the IT department is surveying the premises of ten other officials. A senior official said, “People and businessmen connected to the land deal involving Lalu Prasad and his family are being searched. There are allegations of benami deals worth about Rs 1,000 crore and subsequent tax evasion.” The raids are being conducted by a team of about 100 tax department officials and police personnel.
Last week, the BJP had accused Lalu Prasad, his daughter and his both sons of being involved in corrupt land deals worth more than Rs 1,000 crore and asked the Central government to investigate one such transaction in Bijwasan in Delhi.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had alleged that these transactions were a case of “quid pro quo” as they date back to the period when Lalu Prasad was the railway minister, and dared Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, to take action against him.
Lalu’s RJD is a constituent of Bihar’s ruling coalition led by Kumar, while his sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav are ministers in the Bihar government. Ravi Shankar said that the official residence of Lalu was the address of the owners of the firms allegedly floated by his family members.
Many suspected land deals took place in Bihar, and I wonder if Nitish Kumar would introduce a special law enacted by his government in which assets acquired through illicit money are seized in this instance. “The politics of Lalu Prasad has become politics of loot. Land worth crores of rupees was grabbed for a pittance,” said Prasad.
Ravi Shankar Prasad had claimed that all the companies owned by Lalu Prasad’s family members for the purpose of these land transactions had no employees, no business activities and no turnover.
Prasad had also urged the Election Commission to act against Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti, saying she did not disclose the details of these assets in her Rajya Sabha election affidavit. As part of such dubious transactions, Bihar’s biggest shopping mall spread over 7.5 lakh square feet is coming up in Patna, alleged Prasad at a news conference held in Delhi.