New Delhi [India] : The Rouse Avenue court on Friday granted interim bail to former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, her daughters -- Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav -- and other accused persons in the Land-for-Jobs money laundering case.
They were summoned by the court after taking cognizance of the charge sheet filed by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED).
Special Judge Vishal Gogne granted interim bail to Rabri Devi her daughters and Hridyanand Chaudhary on furnishing bail bond of Rs one lakh and surety bond in the like amount.
Accuse Amit Katyal is already on interim bail on medical grounds.
The ED said that they will file a reply on the bail application. "They may be granted interim bail till the reply is filed. The interim bail is granted till the reply is filed," the court noted.
The next date of hearing for consideration on bail is February 28, 2024.
Special public prosecutor Manish Jain for ED sought time for filing the reply. Meanwhile, they may be granted interim till the reply is filed, he submitted.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh counsel for the accused argued that they are entitled to bail in view of the Supreme Court judgement as they were not arrested during the investigation.
After hearing submissions, the court said that during the investigation ED did not find it necessary to arrest the accused.
"There is no reason for committing the accused to custody," the Court said.
The court granted interim bail to Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav till the next date of hearing. The court directed ED to file a reply on the bail application.
The court directed to supply the charge sheet and documents to the accused persons filed by the ED.
Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti, Hema Yadav and others reached Rouse Avenue Court to appear in the Land-For-Jobs money laundering case.
They were summoned by the court after taking Cognizance of the charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate.
Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav and Hridyanand Chaudhary appeared physically. Amit Katyal appeared through video conferencing
The Rouse Avenue court on January 27, issued summons to former Bihar CM Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti, Hema Yadav, Hridyanand Chaudhary and other accused in Land for Job money laundering case.
Special Judge Vishal Gogne had issued summons to accused persons after taking Cognizance of Charge sheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The court issued production warrant to produce Amit Katyal on the next date of hearing.
Two firms namely A K Infosystem and A B Export have also been made accused in this case. Cognizance has been taken against these firms.
While taking Cognizance of the charge sheet the court said that there is sufficient material to take cognizance.
ED had submitted that In 2006-07 A K infosystem was formed by Amit Katyal and its business was IT data analysis. No real business was done. Instead, several land parcels were bought by the company. One land parcel pertains to the main predicate offence that is land for job.
This company was transferred in the name of Rabri Devi and Tejaswi Yadav in 2014 for the consideration of one lakh Rupees, ED submitted.
ED had submitted that Amit Katyal is the only arrested accused.
Other accused are Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti, Hema Yadav, A K infosystem, A B export and Hridyanand Chaudhary.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 9, 2024, filed a Prosecution Complaint (Charge sheet) in Land for job scam money laundering case.
ED has named Bihar's Ex-CM Rabri Devi, her daughters Misa Bharti and Hema Yadav, Hridyanand Chaudhary along with Amit Katyal. Two firms AB Export and AK Infosystems have also been made accused.
SPP Jain submitted that Amit Katyal was the director of AK infosystem. "As far as Rabri Devi is also an accused in predicate offence in CBI case..Misa Bharti is an accused in the predicate offence. Hridyanand Chaudhary is also an accused in predicate offence and was arrested," he said.
Advocate Manish Jain and Ishan Baisla also submitted that A B Export was supposed to be in the business of export. It was incorporated in 1996. In 2007, Rs five crore came through five companies and a property in New Friends colony was purchased.
In this case, seven land parcels are involved. Out of these Rabri, Hema Yadav, and Misa Bharti got land parcels. Later on They sold out their land parcels.
ED's Special Public Prosecutors Manish Jain and advocate Ishan Baisla had apprised the court that the Yadav Family members are beneficiaries of proceeds of crime.
Katyal has been arrested and is in custody. The other accused persons have charge sheeted without arrest. Katyal's firm was charge-sheeted in the CBI case also.
The Rouse Avenue Court on November 23, 2023, had sent Businessman Amit Katyal, promoter of AK Infosystems to Judicial Custody.
He was arrested by ED in an alleged land-for-jobs scam case. Katyal is said to be a close aide of former railways minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.
The Delhi High Court had refused to quash Enforcement Directorate (ED) proceedings against Amit Katyal, who is accused of engaging in transactions with the family members of former railways minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Earlier the lawyers for Katyal had submitted that the original FIR was registered on May, 18, 2022 by CBI and period of transaction is 2004-09. ED registered ECIR on 16.8.22 in relation to this. CBI has concluded the investigation and I am cited as a protected witness. My arrest is illegal and is contrary to Section 19, Lawyer argued for Katyal.
According to the ED in March month, based on the specific intelligence inputs, searches were conducted at 24 locations at various places in Delhi NCR, Patna, Mumbai and Ranchi in the Railways Land for Job Scam, which resulted in recovery of unaccounted cash of Rs 1 Crore, foreign currency including USD 1900, 540 gms gold bullion and more than 1.5 kg of gold jewellery (worth Rs 1.25 Crores approximately), several other incriminating documents including various property documents, sale deeds etc held in the names of family members and benamidaars indicating illegal accretion of huge land bank and electronic devices.
Searches resulted in detection of Proceeds of Crime amounting to Rs 600 Crore approximately at this point of time which is in the form of immovable properties of Rs 350 Crore and transactions of Rs 250 Crore routed through various benamidaars, ED stated.
According to the ED PMLA investigation conducted so far has revealed that several pieces of land at prominent locations in Patna and other areas were illegally acquired by the family of the then Rail Mantri, Lalu Prasad Yadav in lieu of jobs provided in Railways. The current market value of these land parcels is more than Rs 200 Crore. In this regard, several benamidars, shell entities and beneficial owners for these lands have been identified.
Further, investigation under PMLA revealed that the property situated at New Friends Colony, Delhi (independent four-storied bungalow, registered in the name of M/s A B Exports Private Limited, a company owned and controlled by Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and family) was shown to have been acquired at a value of mere Rs 4 Lakhs, the present market value of which is approximately Rs 150 crore. It is suspected that huge amount of cash/Proceeds of Crime has been infused in purchasing this property and few Mumbai based entities, dealing in the gems and jewellery sector were used to channel ill-gotten proceeds of crime in this regard. The property has been though, on paper declared as office of M/s A B Exports Private Limited and M/s AK Infosystems Pvt ltd, it is being exclusively used as residential premises by Tejasvi Prasad Yadav, son of Lalu Prasad Yadav. During the searches, Tejasvi Prasad Yadav was found to be staying at this house and was found to be using this house as his residential property.
ED investigation has found that 4 parcels of lands acquired by the family of Lalu Yadav in just Rs 7.5 lakhs from poor Group-D applicants were sold to Syed Abu Dojana, Ex-RJD MLA by Mrs Rabri Devi with huge gains at Rs 3.5 crore in a collusive deal. ED investigation further revealed that a major portion of the amount thus received, was transferred to the account of Sh. Tejashwi Prasad Yadav.Investigations revealed that in the similar fashion, lands were taken from several poor parents and candidates in lieu of Group D jobs in the Railways. It has been revealed during the investigation that in many Railways Zones, more than 50% of recruited candidates were from Lalu Yadav families' constituencies, stated ED.