BJP, Congress trade fireworks over CBI raids on Lalu

Lalu Prasad

Lalu Prasad (Photo: IANS)

The RJD chief Lalu Prasad and a section of the Opposition backing him, like the Congress, cried foul over the CBI's Friday raids on premises linked to him over his alleged involvement in irregularities in granting of contracts for maintenance of railway's hotels when he had been the railways minister during the UPA government.

The ruling camp however denied that the BJP or the Narendra Modi government had anything to do with these raids, which, it claimed, occurred in accordance with law.

The senior BJP leader and Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu rejected the Opposition's allegations that the CBI raids on the Lalu family's premises reflected the Modi dispensation's "vendetta politics".

“Let me make it very clear that the government has no role in it (raids). Instead of facing the charges and answering them, making political allegations against the government and the BJP have become a fashion with some of the Opposition parties," Naidu said.

Hitting out at the Opposition parties, Naidu said such allegations were a pointer to the Opposition's bid to cover up their own wrongdoings instead of admitting to them.

Naidu claimed that the cases against Lalu were not filed by the present BJP-led government. "The cases against Lalu Prasad have been filed by our government. They have been there earlier also. The law is taking its own course," he said.

Lalu and his politician family members, including son, daughter and wife, have been under the scanner of various law-enforcement agencies such as the CBI and the Income Tax department over various cases of alleged corruption.

The Congress however on Friday again rose in defence of its close ally, alleging that Lalu and other Opposition leaders were being targeted by the Modi government as part of "political vendetta".

"The law of the land must take its own course in an impartial and just manner. However, when law enforcing agencies like CBI/ED become 'captive puppets' of the BJP government, acting as 'dirty tricks department' to seek revenge against political opponents, it doesn't bode well for democracy," the Congress's chief national spokesman Randeep Surjewala charged.

He fired away a number of bristling questions at the government and these agencies regarding these raids.

"The BJP and the CBI need to answer certain fundamental questions. The matter, as per CBI, dates back to the year 2004 while FIR is lodged in the year 2017, then why this inordinate delay and particular silence maintained by BJP for last 3 years?" Surjewala  asked.

"Has the lease been cancelled? Has the property been taken in possession by railways? Has the railways filed a criminal complaint to CBI? Why has the railways not cancelled everything for 14 years? In absence thereof, doubts certainly arise on the bonafides of CBI and BJP government," he charged.