BREAKING| [Land for Jobs Scam] “Will not arrest him this month”: CBI tells Delhi HC in plea seeking stay on summons issued against Tejashwi Yadav

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Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav moved the high court seeking issuance of directions, especially in the nature of mandamus for stay/quashing of summons issued by CBI on February 28, March 4, and March 11, for an appearance before the CBI branch of Delhi.

In the plea filed by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister (CM) Tejashwi Yadav challenging the summons issued in connection with “Land for Jobs Scam Case”, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that it will not arrest him this month.

During the hearing, counsel for Yadav contended, “I am Deputy CM Bihar, four portfolios, they (CBI) are calling me here, my budget session is going on. They can call me at the Patna CBI office or can let me join through video conferencing. I come to Delhi for one day, three summons are served on me. My wife is pregnant.”

“I (Yadav) am consistently telling them (CBI) that I am in Bihar, my address is…I have attached my passport to that effect. From February 29 till March 1, they issued 3 summons. The budget Sessions is till April 5”, he submitted.

On the contrary, Advocate D P Singh appearing for CBI contended that the Budget Sessions are not on Saturdays. He alleged that Yadav was in Delhi when the first summons was served, but he refused to join, there was no budget session on that day.

On instructions, Singh submitted that CBI will not arrest him this month, and he can join the investigation. “Our chargesheet is ready, we have to file it in this month, so we need him to appear this month before the Delhi branch”, he told.

Noting that the CBI will not arrest Yadav this month, Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma “granted liberty” to him to appear before the CBI Branch on “any Saturday of this month”.

To this, the counsel for Yadav agreed to appear before the CBI Branch, New Delhi on March 25 at 10:30 am.

Accordingly, the court disposed of the petition.

Yadav moved the high court seeking issuance of directions, especially in the nature of mandamus for quashing of summons issued by CBI on February 28, March 4, and March 11, for an appearance before the CBI branch of Delhi.

The plea stated that Yadav is a permanent resident of Patna, Bihar, and notice under Section 160 of CrPC can only be issued to a person, who is situated within the local jurisdiction of that police station or within the adjoining police station. It alleged that the impugned notices had been issued in gross violation of the provision of the CrPC.

Yadav also stated that the impugned notices from the CBI, requiring him to appear in Delhi, however, was "disregard of the law". He also prayed for directions to the CBI, that he be allowed to be interrogated in the present FIR, in the presence of his Advocates at a visible but not audible distance, as per the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

It is to be noted that, Special Judge Geetanjali Goel of the Rouse Avenue Court on Wednesday granted bail to former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi, daughter Misa Bharti and others in connection with the 'Land for Jobs Scam case'.

Noting that the CBI filed the chargesheet without arrest, the Special Judge granted Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi, daughter Misa Bharti, and others on furnishing a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 and a surety of like amount.

The CBI in its first chargesheet filed in the present case stated that “irregular appointments” of candidates were made in Central Railway, violating the laid down norms and procedures of the Indian Railways for recruitment. It also stated that the candidates directly or through immediate family members sold land to the family members of Lalu Prasad Yadav (the then Railway Minister) at “highly discounted rates”.

CBI further stated that Lalu Prasad Yadav, as Railways Minister from 2004 to 2009, received financial benefits in the form of the transfer of land property in the names of his family members in exchange for the appointment of substitutes in Group "D" posts in various Railway zones such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Jabalpur, and Hajipur.

“In lieu thereof, the substitutes, who were residents of Patna themselves or through their family members sold and gifted their land situated at Patna in favor of the family members of Lalu Prasad Yadav and a private company controlled by family members, which was also involved in the transfer of such immovable properties in the name of family members”, the agency alleged.

CBI also alleged that no advertisement or public notice was issued for the appointment of Substitutes in Zonal Railways, yet substitutes from Patna were appointed as substitutes in different Zonal Railways and that undue haste was shown in processing candidates' applications and their appointments as substitutes were approved. Furthermore, the agency alleged that the due procedure and guidelines/instructions issued by the Railway Authority for the appointment of Substitutes in Railways were not followed and later on, their services had also been regularized.

Case Title: Shri Tejashwi Prasad Yadav v. Central Bureau of Investigation

Statue: The Code of Criminal Procedure