Railway’s Land-for-jobs ‘Scam’: Delhi Court Extends Interim Bail to Lalu Prasad’s Associate sattaex.com

A court here on Tuesday extended by a week the interim bail to Amit Katyal who was arrested last year on money laundering charges linked to the land-for-jobs scam case allegedly involving RJD chief Lalu Prasad and several members of his family.

Special Judge Vishal Gogne, who had granted interim bail to Katyal on February 5 on medical grounds, extended the relief after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sought time to reply to the accused’s application seeking an extension of the interim bail.

The ED submitted before the court that it has challenged before the Delhi High Court the interim bail granted to the accused, and the order has been reserved in the matter.

The central probe agency sought time to reply to Katyal’s application seeking an extension of the relief, saying it would file its response within the next few days, subject to the orders of the high court.

The counsel appearing for Katyal then prayed that pending adjudication of the matter by the high court, the present fresh application for extension of interim bail may be adjourned.

“The court finds it appropriate in the present circumstances that the proceedings be adjourned. List for further proceedings/filing of the reply from the ED on March 12, 2024. The interim bail of accused Amit Katyal is extended till then,” the judge said.

The judge will also hear on March 12 the regular bail application of the accused. Special Judge Gogne had on February 5 granted Katyal interim bail for a month saying, “He must be accorded a purposive and humane interpretation of ‘sick or infirm’ within the meaning of the proviso to section 45(1) PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act).”

The court had granted the relief on personal bonds and two surety bonds of Rs 2 lakh each and said the accused was permitted to receive medical treatment at a hospital within the National Capital Region.

The judge had also imposed various conditions on the accused, including prohibiting him from leaving the country during the period of the interim bail and attempting to contact, influence or coerce any person or witness connected with the case. Katyal was first detained and later, arrested by the ED on November 11, 2023, under PMLA provisions. The central agency alleged that Katyal had “acquired” land from several job aspirants on behalf of the RJD chief and former Union railways minister Lalu Prasad.

The ED claimed that Katyal was the director of a company called AK Infosystems Private Limited, which acquired land from candidates “on behalf” of Lalu Prasad. “The registered address of the company is D-1088, New Friends Colony, New Delhi, which is the house belonging to Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members. Several other lands were also acquired by Amit Katyal in the said company in return for giving undue favours by Lalu Prasad when he was minister of railways,” the agency had alleged in a statement.

After acquiring the land parcels, shares of the said company were “transferred” to the family members of Lalu Prasad in 2014, it alleged, adding that Katyal is a close associate of the RJD supremo and had evaded summons for questioning in the case for about two months. A K Infosystems Private Limited is allegedly a “beneficiary company” in the case and its registered address in south Delhi’s New Friends Colony was being used by Tejashwi Yadav, the ED had claimed earlier.

The alleged scam pertains to the period when Lalu Prasad was the railway minister in the UPA-1 government.

It is alleged that from 2004 to 2009, several people were appointed to Group “D” positions in various zones of the Indian Railways and in lieu, these people transferred their land to the family members of then railway minister Prasad and A K Infosystems Private Limited.

The ED case, filed under the criminal sections of the PMLA, stems from a complaint lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

According to the CBI, no advertisement or public notice was issued for appointment, but some residents of Patna were appointed as substitutes in different zonal railways in Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kolkata, Jaipur and Hazipur.

As a quid pro quo, the candidates, directly or through their immediate family members, allegedly sold land to Prasad’s family members at highly discounted rates, up to one-fourth to one-fifth of the prevailing market rates, the CBI alleged.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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