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CBI official fears Laloo may tamper with file on interrogation

Tara Shankar Sahay in Delhi

The Central Bureau of Investigation's joint director (east) U N Biswas has not yet sent details of the interrogation of Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal president Laloo Prasad Yadav to the agency's Delhi headquarters. Yadav was quizzed for nine hours in Patna on Monday in connection with his alleged role in the Rs 10 billion animal fodder scam.

A highly-placed CBI official told Rediff On The NeT that although CBI Director Joginder Singh had asked Biswas to send the crucial file from Patna to the agency's headquarters on Wednesday, the joint director did not do so. Biswas explained to Singh that he was still finalising papers relevant to the interrogation.

The CBI official emphasised that Biswas was apprehensive that the Bihar chief minister would use his clout with the United Front government to tamper with the file containing details of his interrogation. Biswas told reporters in Patna on Tuesday that the file would enable the CBI to frame a chargesheet against Laloo Yadav.

Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda dispatched his political troubleshooter, Information and Broadcasting Minister Chand Mahal Ibrahim, to Patna to assess the political fallout arising out of Laloo Yadav's likely indictment in the scam.

Laloo Yadav's supporters are exerting pressure on the Janata Dal leadership to postpone the organisational elections scheduled for March. Although Laloo Yadav asserted recently that he would not contest the election for the party presidency, his allies want the organisational poll to be postponed so that their mentor can rework his political strategy.

However, Laloo Yadav's adversaries within the party -- the prime minister, Railway Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Janata Dal working president Sharad Yadav -- may resist that move and go ahead with the poll.

Though Laloo Yadav says he will not resign as Bihar's chief minister even if the CBI files a chargesheet against him, the race to succeed him has already begun. Among the front-runners are Abdul Wari Siddiqui, Bihar's information and broadcasting minister and Jayprakash Narayan Yadav, the state education minister.

Related Story:
Janata Dal leadership defends Laloo Yadav


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