The Enforcement Directorate stepped in to probe money laundering by the Ex-Chief Minister of State of Bihar in India. Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav was also the former railways minister. Currently, he and his family in a railway hotel allotment case being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation. There are couple of political developments around this issue of corruption, but they are not part of this post.
Case in Brief
The new case has been registered under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act by the Enforcement Directorate on the basis of the initial CBI probe. Inspite of the investigation by the apex investigation agency of India, entry of Enforcement Directorate indicates the asset seizure of the family. Enforcement Directorate has the powers to attach and confiscate tainted assets in the money laundering crimes. It is widely expected that the agency will invoke this power.
Sujata Hotels Private Limited
Lalu Prasa Yadav as Railways Minister back in 2006 was accused of facilitating a contract to a private company to run hotels, after receiving a bribe in the form of a three-acre plot in Patna. where a mall is being built. 2 acre land near Saguna Mor was sold to Delight Marketing Company owned by Rajya Sabha MP Prem Chand Gupta and his wife Sarla Gupta. Premchand Gupta is also the member of Lalu Prasad’s party. This plot was sold to Delight Marketing by one individual named Harsh Kochar. It later emerged that Harsh Kochar was the director of Sujata Hotels Private Limited in lieu of the two railway hotels leased out to the hotelier for 15 years. These hotels were leased out during the tenure of Lalu Prasad Yadav as railway minister in 2006.
Lara Projects Private Limited
The transfer of the land came through the same day the Railways started leasing hotels to private companies for maintenance. Railways received 15 bids for two hotels in Puri and Ranchi, but there are no records of bidders other than Sujata hotels, which snagged a 15-year lease. The land of Saguna Mor was later transferred to a company called Lara Projects, which is completely owned by the family of Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Bihar’s supposed to be biggest mall is now being constructed on this land piece.