Sushil Kumar Modi, for long, has been Lalu Prasad Yadavâs arch-enemy. The petitioner in the fodder scam cases, Modiâs move had led to the former Bihar chief ministerâs conviction, making him the first MP to be disqualified in 2013.
In a candid conversation with News18âs Marya Shakil, Modi talks about his latest expose on Lalu Yadav, while saying that he will let Nitish Kumar decide on the future course of Bihar politics. Edited excerpts:Â
Marya Shakil: Your latest allegation is that Kanti Singh gifted a plot of land and a 3-storey building in Patna to Lalu Yadavâs sons in 2005 and to Rabri Devi in 2006 for a ministerial berth. Do you think all these gifts were given as quid pro quo? Sushil Modi: Kanti Singh, Raghunath Jha and Prem Chand Gupta gave their properties to Lalu Yadavâs sons, and not their own children. Why would someone do that? Four big companies were handed over to Laluâs family. Prem Chand Guptaâs Delight Marketing Company, Om Prakash Katyalâs AK Info system Pvt Ltd, Ashok Kumar Bantiyaâs AB Exports Pvt Ltd and Fair Grow Holding Pvt Ltd. These four companies did no business in the last decade; had no turnover and no employees. But they had land holdings worth crores of rupees. Slowly, the original promoters of these companies made an exit and both daughters of Lalu became directors and Rabri and Tejasvi got 100% shareholding.
MS:Â Rashtriya Janata Dal says these are baseless allegations and most of these transactions have been declared by Lalu and his sons in their election affidavits. What do these charges deal with â legality or morality?
SM: It is not only about morality. The same OP Katyal, who built a beer factory in Patna, is a liquor baron of Delhi, who lets Lalu have a house worth Rs 50 crore on his land. Why Prem Chand Gupta was made sansad for 5 years? And why did Lalu Yadav, as railway minister, gave railway property to Harsh Kochar? The same property, 2-acre land near Patna, was transferred to Prem Chand Guptaâs Delight Marketing. Ultimately, Delight Marketing converted into Lalu Rabdi Distributors Pvt Ltd. And now, Rabri Devi holds 85% share in that company while Tejaswi has the remaining 15%.
MS: Are you saying that these properties werenât declared in the election affidavits of the Lalu Yadav family?
SM: Have they declared the Rs 750 crore mall that is coming up on Delight Marketingâs 2-acre land? The mall will be the biggest in Bihar, and is being constructed illegally without permission from authorities. There is a four-storey building on a land under AB Export. Is there any declaration of that? Or of the petrol pump that they have constructed on AK Infosystem Pvt Ltdâs land. Tejpratap Yadav purchased a 54-decimal land in Aurangabad for Rs 40-45 lakh, which houses a 3-storey showroom. The land is registered under his name but is not shown in any of their affidavits. They donât have the guts to reply to such allegations.
MS: What is the point of raking up an issue which dates back to the UPA-I era in 2005? Most of your allegations deal with Laluâs tenure as railways minister. Will you be demanding a probe by CBI or any other independent agency?
SM: These companies were taken over after 2013-14. Earlier, they were with Lalu Prasadâs friends but his family took over these four companies. This has to be investigated by Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax Department, and the CBI. I have more than a dozen documents relating to land deals in Bihar and outside. These are all shell companies with the land, thus purchased being transferred to Laluâs family. This was one of the prime reasons why he was opposing demonetization. He was the only politician from Bihar opposing it.
MS:Â Since you are talking about probing the matter, will you come to the rescue of your old ally Nitish Kumar if he breaks his alliance with Lalu Yadav?
SM: Today, this is a hypothetical question. But when the time comes, he will decide what he wants to do. Nitish Kumar has kept mum for the past 24 days. Most of these charges were raised earlier also by Nitishâs party members, Lalan Singh (Rajiv Ranjan Singh) and Shivanand Tiwari.
MS:Â Nitish Kumar may pose a challenge to PM Modi ahead of 2019. Some say making his ally Lalu look weak is aimed at tarnishing Nitishâs image. Is that true?
SM: Had they not committed such a big scam, we would not have been able to expose them. Lalu has already been convicted in the fodder scam, but is yet to mend his ways. His sons are following his footsteps. So, as the major opposition party in Bihar, it is our duty to bring forth any misdeeds that are being committed by the government.
MS: Will you back Nitish if he cuts alliance with Lalu?
SM: Nitish canât be comfortable with Lalu Prasad Yadav, he never was. But we will let him decide what he wants to do, and then decide our course of action.