New Delhi: The income tax department conducted raids at 22 locations in Delhi and Gurugram on companies and people associated with RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his MP daughter Misa Bharti, and two sons, Tejashwi and Tej Pratap Yadav and other close associates in connection with alleged benami property deals worth over Rs1,000 crore.
In another development, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided 14 properties of former finance minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram, in Chennai. The raids took place after a first information report (FIR) was registered on Monday, the CBI confirmed in connection with Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance for media firm INX Media in 2007.
Both the Congress and the RJD have accused the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of misusing central investigative agencies to suppress the voice of the opposition parties. Here’s how political leaders have reacted to the two developments:
■ P. Chidambaram: “The government, using the CBI and other agencies, is targeting my son and his friends. The government’s aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing as it has tried to do in the cases of leaders of the Opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society organisation," the senior Congress leader and former Union minister said in a statement.
■ Lalu Prasad Yadav: “Beware egoist and fascist BJP leaders! Before threatening Lalu, look at your face in the mirror. There are millions of thousands of Lalus in Bihar," the RJD chief and former Bihar CM said on Twitter sounding a warning, asking the BJP to “be careful".
■ Ravi Shankar Prasad: “The politics of Lalu Prasad has become politics of loot. Land worth crores of rupees was grabbed for a pittance. We expect the central government to take appropriate action," Hindustan Times quoted the Union minister as saying.
■ Piyush Goyal: “No one cares about those columns, they have not exactly set the Yamuna on fire," PTI quoted the Union power minister responding to Chidambaram’s statement that “The government’s aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing." Goyal further added, “The issue was why beneficiaries of FIPB gave “money to the firms owned by his son. The government does not interfere in CBI probes... After all, it is not us who demanded reopening of fodder scam cases. The Supreme Court gave the verdict."
■ Karti Chidambaram: “They have not seized any documents and cannot prove any charges against me. I have not done anything wrong. They could not prove allegations against me, they want to silence our voice," PTI quoted former Union minister P. Chidambaram’s son.
■ Sushil Kumar Modi: “Nitish was silent from last 40 days, when I was exposing the financial irregularities and benami properties of Lalu-family one after the other. However, he broke his silence all of a sudden yesterday (Monday), saying that Centre should take action because he was probably aware about today’s action," the Times of India quoted the senior BJP leader as saying.