I-T already has attached the properties

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday ordered to attach properties of  Lalu’s family under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) valued at around Rs 45 crore in the case pertaining to IRCTC hotel allotment on lease. The attached properties are situated at different location in Patna, in which most valuable and much popular land of mall at Saguna Mor (turn) measuring 3-acre. The attached properties including mainly land plots and five to six flats.

Interestingly, most of the properties have already been attached by Income Tax department. On September 12, the Income Tax department had issued an attachment order of 12 properties owned by Lalu, his family members and his close aide in Patna and Delhi, including the land of Mall at Sagnua Mor, too. According to ED officials, the fresh attachment order superseded all previous attachment orders, because it has been issued under PMLA.

The order came after a week of the ED’s questioning to Rabri Devi in Patna at its zonal office. ED has questioned son of Lalu and Leader of Opposition, Tejashwi Yadav two times in the same case in past.

Attached properties are registered in the name of Lara Project LLP. Rabri Devi (85%) and Tejashwi Yadav (15%) are its shareholders. It is alleged that the Delight Marketing as well as Lara Projects LLP are shell firms. The land of Mall was registered in the name of Delight Marketing in 2005. Delight Marketing was rechristened as Lara Projects LLP in 2016. Other Plots were transferred in the name of Lara Projects LLP. This company does not have any business.

The attachment is temporary. Now ED will submit a complaint before competent authority within 30 days. The authority will hear arguments of both sides and will ‘ok’ or ‘dismiss’ the step taken by ED. If order comes in the favour of ED, then the property will come under its control and it will submit chargesheet against accused, too.

According to FIR, which has been lodged in Delhi, Lalu favoured Sujata Hotels in awarding contract for maintenance of hotels of IRCTC located at Ranchi and Puri and received land near Saguna Mor in Patna in return under “quid pro quo” in 2005, when Lalu was Railway Minister. However, the plot was not transferred direct to Lalu’s family members. First, the land was transferred to a RJD leader wife, Sarla Gupta. Sarla was the owner of Delight Marketing.

On the other, Tejashwi Yadav called it political vendetta. He said, “The 3-acre plot had already been attached by I-T department earlier. My family is cooperating with probing agencies. Why has
CBI not filed charge sheet in the case so far.” He added, ‘I don’t know why there is delay in submitting the charge sheet.’ He also said,”The railway minister has nothing to do with IRCTC tenders.”