Lalu Prasad’s party protests new charges against him

August 13th, 2008 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Patna, Aug 13 (IANS) The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Wednesday said the allegation that party chief Lalu Prasad misused his official position as railways minister to help his relatives acquire land was nothing but “false propaganda”. Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal (United) and its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partner the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have demanded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh order an independent probe into the alleged land for job scam in the railways and remove Lalu Prasad from the minister’s post.

Lalu Prasad is already one of the prime accused in the multi-million rupees fodder scam that cost him the Bihar chief minister’s post in the late 1990s.

Television news channel IBN7 Sunday purportedly showed Lalu Prasad misusing his official position to acquire land for his family and relatives. The channel said it had conducted a sting operation for over a year.

The channel said its investigation showed that Lalu Prasad had bought land worth several million rupees for his relatives from those who aspired for jobs in the railways.

“The JD(U) and BJP allegations are nothing but a false propaganda to defame Lalu Prasad,” said RJD national spokesperson Shyam Rajak here Wednesday.

“There is nothing new, NDA has been doing such acts to defame Lalu Prasad. Neither will it affect his image nor RJD’s to continue to expose their communal agenda,” said Rajak.

He quoted Lalu Prasad, who refuted the allegations by saying that the operation was the handiwork of the state’s NDA to defame him.

“I have given all details to the income tax department. All property which I possess is in the knowledge of the income tax department, a copy of which is also with the prime minister and the government of India. My detractors are welcome to re-check their facts,” Lalu Prasad said.

Lalan Singh, president of the JD(U) Bihar unit, came out with a document of over 500 pages Tuesday in a bid to add credence to the sting operation. He said: “After the fodder scam Lalu Prasad has not changed. This is another big scam in the making.”

He alleged that Lalu Prasad had been on a land grab spree since he became railway minister. “The market value of the land acquired through various means, be it in lieu of job or giving Railways property on lease or accepting land as gift, would be more than Rs.100 crore (Rs.1.billion),” he said.

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