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Sunday, June 22 1997

CBI raids Laloo's home

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE

PATNA, June 21: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) moved a step closer towards pinning down Bihar Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav in the Rs 950-crore fodder scam by launching simultaneous raids on the residences of Laloo and his close relatives.

Laloo's ancestral house and residences of his in-laws in Gopalganj and Siwan districts were raided. According to CBI sources, the raids in Mirganj, Fulwaria and Saraikala yielded some incriminating documents and a huge amount of cash.

The fathers-in-law of Laloo's two brothers-in-law were arrested.On a tip-off that documents related to the scam were being shifted, a team of nearly fifty sleuths left for Laloo's ancestral village yesterday night.

CBI sources said they were waiting for the right moment to arrest Laloo. And now it would be possible to arrest him before June 24, when his anticipatory bail plea comes before the Patna High Court for hearing.

They maintained that the raid had to be conducted in the absence of the SP of Gopalganj, who was informed of the move in advance, but kept away. They revealed that the Chief Minister's official residence and the houses of his brothers-in-law -- Sadhu Yadav (MLC) and Subhash Yadav -- would be the next targets.

The raids, led by CBI SP (Patna) VSK Kaumudi, which began in the wee hours of the day, were continuing at the time of going to the press. Reacting to the raids, Laloo said, ``The action is an attempt to sully my image.''

Charging the CBI with adopting double standards, Laloo said, ``It is condemnable that raids were conducted even on the houses of relatives of my relatives, who have nothing to do with my affairs.''

``For the first time in my life I have suffered such an insult. The CBI is being used as a political instrument and I take serious exception to its style of investigation,'' he said. The CBI also raided the residences of State Ministers Vidya Sagar Nishad and Bhola Ram Toofani.

Meanwhile, the day-long Patna bandh, called by the students and youth wings of the ruling Janata Dal (JD) passed off peacefully. Stray incidents of stone-throwing and road blockade have been reported. The bandh, called in protest against the gubernatorial nod for the prosecution of Laloo.

Fodder scam accused attacked in jail

The three fodder scam accused -- Janata Dal legislator R K Rana and IAS officers Mahesh Prasad and Phoolchand Singh -- were assaulted by the inmates inside Beur jail today.

The prisoners, enraged over the death of a fellow inmate today for want of medical attention, alleged that the scam accused were getting all the facilities and luxuries in the jail. Authorities said the jail superintendent was transferred and the jail warden along with four others suspended following the incident.

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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