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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar probably made the right political move by sending out positive vibes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. That is because his partner in administration, former CM Lalu Prasad Yadav, is now facing the centre’s wrath.

On the heels of the reopening of the fodder scam case against him, now the Income Tax Department has come down heavily on his family. On June 13, the authorities passed orders, attaching the alleged ‘benami’ properties of his sons, including Tejaswi Yadav, who is now deputy chief minister of Bihar. The properties, in Delhi, are said to be worth over Rs 50 crore, according to media reports.

The tax authorities have invoked the Prevention of Benami Property Act. Recently, the tax authorities had raided 22 premises in Delhi and Gurgaon, said to be acquired through benami land deals. The overall deals being investigated (not all belonging to Lalu’s family) is said to be around Rs 1,000 crore.

Benami land deals are those that have been acquired through proxy transactions, with a front man acting as the buyer. The PM has gone hammer and tongs against benami property.

Conviction in benami deals can also draw criminal procedure, leading to imprisonment.

The BJP has alleged that Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharti, a Rajya Sabha MP, and his two sons have benami property worth Rs 1,000 crore.

Lalu has hit back in his own inimitable style, tweeting: “Beware egoist and fascist BJP leaders! Before threatening Lalu, look at your face in the mirror. There are millions of thousands of Lalus in Bihar.”

India Legal Bureau

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