The Income Tax department has reportedly seized nearly a dozen properties worth around Rs165 crore belonging to the family of Rashtriya Janata Party chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav in Delhi and Bihar.
According to The New Indian Express, sources said the I-Tax department, which is probing charges that the Yadav family had amassed benami assets (under fictitious names) worth around Rs1,000 crore, issued a final attachment order on Monday. Consequently, around a dozen properties belonging to Yadav's younger son Tejaswi Yadav and his eldest daughter, Raya Sabha MP Misa Bharti, were attached.
A DNA report adds that sources stated the I-T Department will file charge-sheets against Lalu's family members under various sections of the Benami Transactions Act.
Over 10 plots in and around Patna, including the 3.5-acre plot on which Bihar's biggest mall was being built till last month, a house in southern Delhi and a farmhouse on the outskirts of the national capital are reported to be among the family's properties attached.
The properties in Delhi-NCR belong to Misa Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar, who have been interrogated by both I-T and Enforcement Directorate officials in connection with alleged money laundering and acquisition of benami properties earlier. The farmhouse in Bijwasan area in southern Delhi was allegedly purchased with Rs1.2 crore obtained through money laundering in 2008-09.
The main beneficiary of the properties attached in Bihar is Tejaswi Yadav, currently the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly. He was deputy chief minister for 20 months till 27 July when the Grand Alliance government collapsed after chief minister Nitish Kumar walked out and allied himself with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Lalu and Tejaswi had been summoned by CBI to appear for interrogation on Monday and Tuesday in connection with the railways' hotel-for-land scam, but the father-son duo stayed away, seeking another date. The Central Bureau of Investigation had raided Lalu's house in Patna in connection with this scam on 7 July, a day after registering a corruption case against him, his wife Rabri Devi and Tejaswi Yadav, among eight people.
Rabri Devi and Tejaswi were interrogated by a team of officials at the department's offices in Patna on 29 August, two days after Lalu organised a massive anti-BJP rally in which leaders of 17 Opposition parties participated.