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Land-for-job scam: Delhi court directs CBI to obtain sanction by August 8 for prosecution of former Railways Minister Lalu Prasad

A Delhi court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to obtain sanction by August 8 for the prosecution of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, along with some Railway officials, in a case related to an alleged land-for-job scam. 

Special Judge Geetanjali Goel at the Rouse Avenue Courts on Wednesday agreed to the request made by the Central agency and granted it time till August 8 to obtain sanction for the prosecution of RJD founder Lalu Prasad.

CBI had filed a fresh charge sheet on July 3 against Lalu Prasad, his wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, along with their son and current Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, in connection with the scam.

This was the second charge sheet filed by the national agency in the case, but first in which Tejashwi has been named as an accused. CBI has also named 14 individuals and entities in this charge sheet.

CBI had filed its first charge sheet on October 10, 2022 against 16 persons. A sanction was then obtained to prosecute Yadav and others.

The national agency had alleged in its first charge sheet that irregular appointments were made in the Railways, violating laid down norms and procedures of Indian Railways for recruitment.

It further said that various residents of Bihar were appointed as substitutes in Group-D posts during 2004 to 2009 in different zones of Railways located at Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur and Hajipur.

CBI alleged that in lieu of the same, the candidates directly or through their family members, transferred their land in the name of family members of the then Union Minister of Railways Lalu Prasad Yadav and a company namely M/s AK Infosystems Private Limited, which was subsequently taken over by Yadav’s family, at about one-fifth of the prevailing market rates.

As per the national agency, no advertisement or public notice was issued for the appointment of substitutes in Zonal Railways and undue haste was shown in processing their applications.

On the basis of this charge sheet, Special Judge Geetanjali Goel had issued summons to Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri and their daughter and RJD MP Misa Bharti on February 27, directing them to appear before the court on March 15.

The court had prima facie observed that the material on record showed commission of offences under Sections 120B, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of IPC and Sections 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 (2), 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

On March 15, the Rouse Avenue Court granted bail to the three family members on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and one surety of the like amount each on the grounds that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed the charge sheet without arrest.

The court recorded in its order that the probe had revealed that the candidates were considered for their engagement without any need for Substitutes. 

There was no urgency for their appointment, which was one of the main criteria behind the engagement of Substitutes. They joined their duties much later from the approval of their appointment and they were subsequently regularised, noted Special Judge Goel.

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