New Delhi: More than a dozen properties worth around Rs. 165 crores spread across Delhi and Bihar allegedly belonging to the family of Bihar’s veteran politician Lalu Yadav – has been seized by the Income Tax department, which is investigating assets cases against the family in several cities.
The beneficiary of most – including the plots in Bihar and the house in Delhi – is Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu Yadav’s son, who is also seen as his political heir. The beneficiary of the farmhouse is his sister Misa Bharti, a parliamentarian from Bihar, tax officials said.
The properties include a house in posh South Delhi and a farm in the outskirts of the city; a dozen plots in and around Patna, among which is the 3.5 acres on which a mall is being built. The building of the mall had triggered fresh corruption allegations against the family, which led to the dismantling of Bihar’s Grand Alliance of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), Lalu Yadav and the Congress, in July.
So far, five members of Lalu Yadav’s family are suspected to be involved in corrupt land deals, tax evasion and defrauding the government. Investigators say they purchased properties in the name of others to avoid paying tax. In June, the department had filed a case against several members of the family under a tough law that involves seven years in jail and a hefty fine.
Last month, the department questioned Tejashwi Yadav and his mother, former chief minister Rabri Devi. The Income Tax sweep comes a day after Tejashwi Yadav had accused his former boss, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Modi of being “responsible” for the Rs. 1,000 crore Srijan scam and launched a campaign against it. Lalu Yadav had urged the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the case, to seize the properties of the scamsters.
Earlier, the IT department had earlier attached properties belonging to the family in Delhi and Patna, which included a petrol pump and another farm house. Investigators say much of the land was bought on the family’s behalf by firms that had reaped benefits when Lalu Yadav was the Railways Minister.