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Bihar: RJD Leaders, Workers Protest Against CBI ‘Raid’ at Rabri Devi's Residence

The ‘raid’ comes a day after Opposition’s, including RJD, letter to PM against “misuse” of Central agencies to “harass and target” Opposition leaders and parties.
Patna: Security personnel deployed outside the residence of former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi during a visit of CBI officials in connection with further probe in the land for jobs scam case, in Patna, Monday, March 6, 2023.

Patna: Security personnel deployed outside the residence of former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi during a visit of CBI officials in connection with further probe in the land for jobs scam case, in Patna, Monday, March 6, 2023.

Patna: Hundreds of ruling RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) leaders and workers took to the streets on Monday to protest against the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the BJP-led (Bharatiya Janata Party) Central government for ‘targeting’ Opposition leaders.

Soon after the news spread that a CBI team entered the official residence of former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, wife of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, in connection with an alleged land-for-job scam case probe, hundreds of ruling RJD leaders and workers staged a protest against it in Patna.

Angry over the reported questioning of Rabri Devi by CBI ahead of Holi (festival of colours) to “harass her for political vendetta and political conspiracy”, RJD leaders and workers, who sat on the road outside the main gate of Rabri Devi's residence, raised slogans like "CBI Wapas Jao" (CBI go back). They also raised slogans against the BJP-led Central government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Taking note of the protest by a large number of RJD leaders and workers against the CBI team inside the high security 10 Circular Road, additional security forces have been deployed by the district administration.

Several RJD MLAs and MLCs joined the protest against the CBI and the Central government.

Shakil Ahmad Khan, a Congress MLA, told NewsClick that the BJP-led Central government is using CBI, ED and IT against Opposition leaders for raising questions and speaking against its Hindutva agenda.

Hours-long protests by RJD leaders and workers ended after the CBI team went back on Monday afternoon.

According to officials in the CBI office here, a 12- member team went to Rabri Devi's residence in connection with an ongoing probe into the land-for-job case. The officials claimed it was not a CBI raid.

RJD leader and deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav told local media that the CBI team had come for the so-called land-for-job case, which is nothing but a move to silence the Opposition. 

Since the Mahagathbandhan government was formed in Bihar last year and BJP was ousted from power, CBI has been used against us. Earlier, CBI had probed and closed this case, and the railway ministry has refused to accept it as a scam.

"If CBI is frequently coming, I would like to suggest they should open an office at our residence," Tejashwi Yadav said.

Minutes before the CBI team reached Rabri Devi's residence, Tejashwi Yadav left for the state Assembly to participate in the ongoing budget session. Similarly, his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav, the Forest and Environment minister, also left his mother's residence minutes before the CBI team arrived.

According to RJD leaders, Rabri Devi was preparing to go to the state Assembly when the CBI team entered her official residence and asked her to stay back.

However, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has yet to say anything about the incident. 

Bihar Education Minister Chandrasekhar, a senior RJD leader, said it is nothing but a conspiracy of the BJP-led government to target those who stand to oppose it.

"BJP doesn't do anything except harass and target its rivals because the party is not sure that its hatred politics will click next year. BJP government has been using CBI against Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi whenever it realises that party's position is weak in Bihar and fear of loss haunts it," he said. 

"The Modi government has been using CBI to create trouble for Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi for their fresh move to unite opposition ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls to take on BJP. It is shameful that amid the festivity atmosphere of colourful Holi across the country, the BJP government sent a CBI team to harass our leaders. But we are not afraid or fearful of such acts; we will continue to fight and challenge BJP," RJD leader Shakti Yadav told NewsClick.

Another RJD leader Uday Narayan Choudhary said the CBI team was sent to Rabri Devi's residence to ‘defame’ the party. 

"BJP is afraid of Lalu Prasad Yadav because he has been trying to unite the Opposition for the next general elections. Modi and Shah have been targeting our leaders since the Mahagathbandhan government was formed in Bihar last August," Choudhary told NewsClick.

The latest CBI action came nearly a week after a Delhi court last month issued a summon to Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, Misa Bharti and 14 others in the case to appear before the court on March 15.

It also comes a day after the Opposition, including RJD, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the “misuse” of Central agencies against the Opposition.

In May 2022, CBI raided 16 premises linked to Lalu Prasad Yadav in connection with the case. At the time, CBI also searched multiple locations in Delhi and Bihar after initiating a preliminary inquiry on September 23, 2021, into the charges that several persons were appointed as substitutes to Group-D posts in exchange for seven land parcels in Patna. These land parcels, as per the charges, were allegedly acquired by Lalu Prasad Yadav's family when he was the Railway minister in the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government. 

Later, in July 2022, CBI arrested RJD leader Bhola Yadav, who was OSD (Officer on Special Duty) of Lalu Prasad Yadav when he was railway minister. The CBI filed a chargesheet in October 2022 for criminal conspiracy and corruption offences against 17 accused persons.

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