Rabri Devi Runs Out of Excuses; Appears Before the ED in Patna

RJD leader Rabri Devi arrives at the ED office with her daughter Misa Bharti in Patna on Friday.

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Patna: After defying summons by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for eight times in the past that could have landed any other person in jail, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Chief Minister of Bihar Rabri Devi finally obliged the ED by choosing to appear before it on Saturday in connection with a host of charges including political quid pro quo, money laundering, and tax evasion.

Mrs. Devi, who was capable enough to run the state as its Chief Minister between 1997 and 2000 while her husband was doing time in a Jharkhand jail in connection with the multi-crore rupees fodder scam, however, needed her eldest child Misa Bharti, a Rajya Sabha MP, to accompany her to answer ED's questions on her behalf.

The former Chief Minister of Bihar was mobbed outside the ED office in Patna as reporters showered her with questions only to be ignored by the wife of party chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Rabri Devi and Misa Bharti going to meet with ED officials in Patna.

Previously the ED had sent summons to Mrs. Devi on eight occasions but in a blatant disrespect of the laws of the land, the former Chief Minister of Bihar had refused to go to Delhi on one excuse after another saying if the ED was interested in grilling her, it was welcome to come to Patna and ask her any question.

Following this, the ED sent its investigators to Patna leaving no choice to the RJD leader but to appear before it on Saturday morning at its zonal office on Bank Road.

Sources said two ED officers interrogated Rabri Devi for nearly seven hours asking questions and like her husband previously, answered mostly in 'I don't recall'. It was not clear if Misa Bharti was present in the room to provide emotional support to her mother though sources said she was not allowed to be present in the same room as her mother.

The case goes back to 2005-2006 when Lalu Prasad Yadav was the Railway Minister of India. Yadav gave the contracts of two Railways hotel to the Sujata Group of Hotels in Bihar after its owners 'gifted' land in prime locations in Patna to Rabri Devi.

Talking to reporters in Patna, a defiant Lalu Prasad Yadav put up a brave face saying he was not afraid of the ED investigation nor was he afraid of going to jail as he was the victim of a large conspiracy hatched by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It may be recalled that Yadav's younger son and former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Tejaswi Yadav has already been grilled by the ED twice and also remains under CBI scanner for acquiring expensive properties in posh areas in Patna and elsewhere without having any known source of income.

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