Ms Bharti, who had ignored several earlier summons from the income tax department, turned up for questioning along with her husband Shailesh Kumar at about 11 am, a day after they were charged with acquiring benami or proxy ownership of property in Delhi and Patna. The income tax department has started attaching these properties.
Ms Bharti had so far sent her lawyer every time she was requested to meet tax officials to record her statement. On at least one occasion, she was also fined 10,000 for missing her appointment but the department wasn't able to get the 42-year-old Rajya Sabha member to show up.
Yesterday, the tax department started the process to seize farm houses, land and buildings including a plot in Patna in connection with its probe in 1,000-crore benami land deals and tax evasion case allegedly involving Lalu Yadav's family.
Ms Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar are being probed over allegations that they acquired benami or proxy ownership of land at throwaway rates. The couple allegedly have links with a firm - Ms Mishail Packers and Printers Private Limited - which is suspected to have entered into benami deals for purchase of a farm house in Delhi's Bijwasan area.
During their questioning on Wednesday, the couple was asked about her company Mishail Packers and Printers Pvt Ltd that tax officials believe is a shell company and the loans that she had taken, particularly unsecured loans that were not backed by any collateral security, to buy companies.
In all, six members of the Lalu Yadav family are suspected to have purchased properties in the name of others to conceal who really owns them. If convicted under the Benami Transactions Act, they face up to seven years in jail and a hefty fine.
Lalu Yadav's party, the RJD, is a member of the coalition government in Bihar led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. His two sons are ministers in the Bihar government and have rejected the charges of corruption and alleged "political vengeance" against his family by the BJP, of which he is a sharp critic.