Lalu Yadav is symbolic of everything that is wrong with Indian politics. For long he escaped consequences of his wrongdoing due to political weight the guy carries. But the Modi government did not show any weakness in dealing with Lalu Yadav because it has full majority of its own in parliament and backing of Lalu Yadav was neither required for government nor for the party. Income Tax department has attached 17 properties worth 128 crore under Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act to be seized from Yadav family. These properties include farm houses of Yadav family in posh localities of Delhi and Patna. “The market value of these properties, which include a high end under construction mall in Patna, a palatial residence in New Friends Colony, Delhi and a two-and-a-half acre farm near Delhi airport is Rs 127.75 crore,” said a senior I-T official said.
According to Benami Property Act, a property bought by an individual, not under his/her name (or family’s name) is benami property which includes buying assets of any kind — movable, immovable, tangible, intangible, any right or interest, or legal documents. This property includes properties which are bought in the name of spouse, brother, sister, children for which money is paid from unknown sources of income. In most of the cases, black money is used to buy benami property and the real owner reaps the benefits of this property while the person in whose name the property is purchased holds no power over it and sometimes even are unknown to the fact that there exists a property in his/her name.
These properties were purchased by associates of Lalu Yadav when he was railway minister. Four shell companies were floated by Yadav’s aides to purchase of these companies and later the ownership was transferred to family members of Lalu Yadav. “Initial funds required for purchase of properties were routed through shell entities and subsequently the shares were transferred in the name of family members of Lalu Prasad at highly understated value,” the official said. Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi, son and former Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, daughters Chanda, Misha and Ragini and son-in-law Shailesh Kumar are among the family members on whose name the property was transferred. “With the confirmation of the provisional attachments, the Income Tax department can take possession of these properties and may allow the occupants to stay on rent till the trial of the cases are completed,” said a source.
Four cases against Yadav family were registered in September last year under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act. The convicted people under Benami property act could face jail sentence up to seven years and monetary fine of 25 percent of market value of the property. The convicted person is also barred from contesting election for six years excluding the prison term s/he serves. The properties include a New friends’ colony property worth 40 crore purchased by AB Exports in 2007 while Lalu Yadav was railway minister. The declared value of the property was just 5 crore and it was transferred to Tejaswi Yadav in 2010-11 only for 4 lakhs. So, Tejashwi Yadav got a property of 40 crore for 4 lakhs, one thousandth of the actual price. Similarly a farmhouse was purchased by Mishail Packers for declared value of 1.41 crore. The actual price of the property is almost 40 crore and it was transferred to Lalu’s daughter Misha and son-in-law Shailesh Kumar at throwaway prices.