Summoned by CBI officers probing a land scam, Bihar politician Lalu Yadav has told investigators that he won't show up on Monday for questioning because he was too preoccupied prepping his defence in three fodder scam cases that he faces.
Lalu Yadav was convicted in one case in 2013 that cost him his Lok Sabha seat and disqualified him from contesting elections. The land scandal that the CBI is probing precipitated the break-up of the grand alliance with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and has already cost the Lalu Yadav family a key role in running Bihar.
This week, the CBI that had raided the Yadav household after registering a formal complaint in July, summoned Lalu Yadav on Monday, and his son Tejashwi Yadav, the next day, to answer their questions.
Lalu Yadav has been accused of illegally facilitating a lease to a private company to run two hotels when he was the country's Railways Minister in 2008, in exchange for a two acre plot in Patna, where a mall is being built.
Sources told NDTV that the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief had told the CBI to put their questions on hold since he was too busy with the defence in the fodder scam where a court has asked him to finish recording the statements of defence witnesses in the Ranchi court by 23 September.
His son Tejashwi Yadav is also likely to send a request to be excused from the questioning on Tuesday due to "prior political commitments".
CBI sources suggested that the Yadav family appeared to be trying to slow down the investigations in the land scam that they face and was backed by documentary evidence that investigators had come across.
Lalu Yadav will, however, take time out to travel to Bhagalpur about 230 km from state capital Patna on Saturday. He will be accompanied by his younger son Tejashwi Yadav who is seen as Lalu's political heir and hope to address a rally in the district on Sunday. But the rally could run into some last-minute hiccups. They had scheduled the rally in the district's Bihar Agricultural University grounds but Tejashwi complained on social media that they had been denied permission again. "Will still hold a public meeting in Bhagalpur," he tweeted.
Tejashwi and his father have gone on mission mode to attempt a takedown of Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who they allege, had links with Manorama Devi whose NGO called Srijan is accused of embezzlement of Rs 700 crore. Manorama Devi died last year.