CBI officials at BNR Chanakya Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, July 7: RJD chief Lalu Prasad today dubbed the latest CBI raids nothing but "vendetta politics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah".
The CBI, in its FIR lodged on Wednesday, has accused Lalu, as railway minister, of rigging a tender process in 2005 to award the sublease of railway hotels in Ranchi and Puri to his favoured hoteliers in exchange for three acres of prime land in Patna routed through a benami company.
Lalu was in Ranchi today to appear before a CBI court in a fodder scam case (RC 64 A/96) pertaining to the Deoghar treasury.
Speaking to reporters at the state guest house before leaving for Patna in the evening, Lalu said he and his family were being targeted for being vocal against the Modi-Shah regime.
"I have been trying to bring Opposition parties under a single umbrella against the despotic Modi-Shah regime and running a campaign to save the country from the BJP. So, Modi and Shah want to pack me off to jail. But I'd rather die than bend before them," Lalu said. "During the rally on August 27 in Patna I will expose BJP's political vendetta."
Lalu has called for a mega BJP bhagao rally in Patna's Gandhi Maidan on August 27.
The RJD chief claimed that Indian Railways became a profit-making undertaking and got international recognition under his tenure.
"The policy decision to rope in private players to manage railway hotels was taken during the first NDA regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The subleases were granted through an open tender. I was surprised when my family members in Patna told me that the CBI wanted to search my house," he said, but added that he would always cooperate with investigating agencies.
" Bees saal se CBI se lad raha hun. Meri sari shakti aur jawani case ladne me chali gayi. Yeh case 2019 ki taiyari hai. Lalu mitti me mil jayega lekin hum BJP ko mitti mein mila denge (I have been fighting the CBI for 20 years. My youth and strength went in the fight. This case is for the 2019 polls. But if Lalu bites the dust, he will ensure the BJP meets a similar fate)," he said.
Lalu avoided answering questions on whether his ally, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, was with him at a time when he was facing a slew of corruption cases.
Lalu will again be in Ranchi on July 11 to record his statement in fodder case RC 68A/96 related to the Chaibasa treasury.
When Lalu arrived in Patna by 7pm, he told reporters he had instructed Rabri Devi and his men to treat CBI officials properly.
"I told them they should take the seizure list and documents from the CBI after getting it signed as the CBI changes documents in court. I ensured that the CBI officials leave 10 Circular Road safely by providing them security. The CBI is not to blame. It's Narendra Modi and Amit Shah's fault."