New Delhi, March 25: Investigation agencies on Saturday questioned Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav and his MP sister Misa Bharti in connection with the railways land-for-jobs scam case here, officials said. While Yadav was quizzed by the CBI for more than eight hours, the ED questioned Bharti for over six hours, they said.
Slamming the BJP over the questioning of the two Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged the ruling party wants to finish off the Opposition and democracy and also expressed solidarity saying, "We are all united against the attack on democracy."
In a tweet in Hindi, she said, "BJP wants to finish off the Opposition and democracy from this country. That is why it is continuously attacking the voice of the people in the Opposition."
Yadav had missed three earlier dates given by the agency and arrived at the CBI headquarters here around 10:30 am according to his commitment to the Delhi High Court last week, they said. He was questioned till around 8 PM with a nearly 90-minute lunch break, during which he went out of the building, they said.
The CBI's line of inquiry was believed to have focused on Yadav's financial transactions, including his purported links to AB Exports Private Limited and AK Infosystems Pvt Ltd. Last week, the CBI assured the Delhi High Court that Yadav would not be arrested this month.
Bharti was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the railways land-for-jobs linked money laundering case here, officials said. The Rajya Sabha member went to the agency's office in central Delhi around 11 am and exited around 7 pm.
She left for lunch for over an hour in the noon during she which told waiting reporters outside the ED office that the proceedings were "confidential" and hence she would not want to comment.
It is understood that her statement was recorded by the investigating officer under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Yadav's counsel, Maninder Singh, had informed the high court that he would require some time to appear before the CBI investigators due to the ongoing Bihar Assembly session, scheduled to conclude on April 5.
The CBI's counsel, D P Singh, had argued that the assembly was not convened on Saturdays and Yadav could appear before the agency on any Saturday in March according to his convenience. The RJD leader had sought quashing of the summonses issued against him on February 28, March 4 and March 11.
A special CBI court had already granted bail to Yadav's father Lalu Prasad, mother Rabri Devi, sister Bharti and others in the same case on March 15. The CBI's probe is part of an ongoing investigation into documents and evidence that came to light after the initial charge sheet was submitted, as well as the alleged involvement of accused persons that could not be completed by the time the initial report was filed.
Officials said that fresh questioning was taking place as part of further investigation based on new inputs gathered during the agency's ongoing probe. The CBI has alleged that during Lalu Prasad's tenure as railway minister from 2004 to 2009, favourite candidates were appointed in violation of norms and procedures without any advertisement or public notice.
The agency further claimed that substitutes from Patna were appointed in various zonal railways in Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Hazipur. In return, the candidates, directly or through their family members, allegedly sold land to Prasad's family members at highly-discounted rates.