The CBI has given a clean chit to former railway minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Yadav in a bribery case, sources have said. He has been out on bail since April after spending more than three years in jail.
In January 2018, the Economic Offence Branch of CB had initiated a preliminary probe for corruption against him and real estate developer DLF Group.
It was alleged that the DLF Group, eyeing rail land lease project in Mumbai's Bandra and upgrade of New Delhi Railway Station project, had bribed the former railway minister with a property in an upscale South Delhi locality.
It was alleged that AB Exports, an alleged shell company, had bought a property in the capital's New Friends Colony for nearly Rs 5 crore in December 2007 while its actual circle rate was Rs 30 crore at that time. This transaction was allegedly funded by DLF Home Developers and routed through Lexis Infotech and a few other shell firms.
In 2011, Lalu Yadav's son Tejashwi Yadav, and his daughters - Chanda Yadav and Ragini Lalu - allegedly bought over AB Exports for a mere Rs 4 lakh by transfer of shares, thereby going on to own the plush South Delhi property.
The agency had also named Praveen Jain and Amit Katyal as intermediaries who executed the transactions between the DLF Group and the veteran politician.
CBI sources told NDTV that after two years of investigation, the "preliminary enquiry was closed as no case has been made out of the allegations".
Sources also added that the investigation team had wanted a conversion of the preliminary inquiry into a regular case (FIR) because the probe had apparently revealed irregularities, including "antedated stamp papers, sham transactions, and property transfer in favor of the Yadavs at a throwaway price". Senior supervising officers, including former director RK Shukla, however, ordered the closure of the case for want of evidence.
The income tax department, too, had opened a separate investigation in the case.
Last month, Lalu Yadav was granted bail by the Jharkhand High Court in a case linked to the Bihar fodder scam. The former Bihar Chief Minister was serving his sentence in what was known as the "Dumka Treasury Case", where he was convicted of withdrawing Rs 3.13 crore from the treasury in the city in Jharkhand, formerly in Bihar.