Lalu Prasad Yadav’s daughter Misa Bharti, and sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav did not disclose in their election affidavits that they were directors in multiple companies, an investigation by this newspaper has found. Misa contested the Rajya Sabha elections in 2016 and the other two the Bihar Assembly elections in 2015. The non disclosure jeopardises their memberships in the Rajya Sabha and the state Assembly, respectively, because as per Section 125A of the Representation of People Act, 1951, failing to furnish or concealing relevant information by a candidate is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
When contacted, Misa Bharti told The Sunday Guardian, “My husband is an IIM MBA and is an entrepreneur after working in corporates for many years. He runs businesses where I’m also included as director. There are total four of them. I was appointed in 2004 when he started these companies. All details are filed annually before authorities in a transparent manner.” She claimed that “Everything is included in the affidavits regarding assets, though election declaration doesn’t ask for one’s status as a director in companies but all financial details has been declared.”
Legal experts say that the judiciary, in multiple cases, has held the concealing of information by candidates as possible ground for setting aside his/her election.
According to the documents available on the MCA website, Tejashwi, whose DIN or Director Identification Number is 03055727, is associated with at least five companies, including the designated partner of Lara projects LLP (date of appointment 14/02/2017); director of Fairgrow Holdings Private Limited (DoA 30/09/2014); director of Lara Projects Private Limited (DoA 30/09/2014); director of AB Exports Private Limited (DoA 10/01/2011); and director of AK Infosystem Private Limited (DoA 30/09/2014).
Former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, an MLC, is also the designated partner of Lara Projects Private Limited and director of Lara Distributors Private Limited.
Misa Bharti, whose DIN number is 00855651, as per the MCA website, is shown as the director of Mishail Packers and Printers Private Limited, Aegis Distributors Private Limited, Lara Distributors Private Limited and KHK Holdings Private Limited. Not one of this information was included in the election affidavit filed by Misa Bharti when she contested the 2016 Rajya Sabha polls.
Her brother and Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav, whose DIN number as per the MCA is 03055749, is shown to be the designated partner of Lara Projects LLP, director of Shivoaham Entertainment Private Limited (the registered address of which is “Lalujee ka Gaushala, Patna, Danapur)”, Fairgrow Holdings Pvt Ltd, Lara Projects Pvt Ltd, AB Exports Pvt Ltd, AK Infosystems Pvt Ltd and Lara Distributors Pvt Ltd. He was appointed in these companies as director between 2010 and 2017. Just like Misa and Tejashwi, Tej Pratap too had not declared this in his affidavit.
One of the above companies, AK Infosystems Private Limited, according to the official records, is involved in data processing and has its registered office at C-654, New Friends Colony, New Delhi. AK Infosystems also has Ragini Yadav, Chanda Yadav, both daughters of Lalu Yadav, as directors. Tejaswhi’s highest qualification, as per his affidavit, is Class 9 pass.
Questions can also be raised about Chanda Yadav registering herself as the director of AK Infosystems. As per the record available on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website, her residential address, when she was appointed as the director of the company in June 2014, is “C.M. House, No-1, Anne Marg, Sachivalaya Thana, G.P.O. Patna”. However, at the time Jitan Ram Manjhi was the CM of Bihar, and neither of her parents.
This has also raised questions on the functioning of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, which is tasked with the responsibility to verify the documents that are submitted by company directors.
A Patna High Court lawyer, Manibhushan Sengar, has filed a PIL seeking legal action against Chanda Yadav on the address issue.
As per the affidavit filed by Tejashwi Yadav on 3 October 2015, when he was contesting the Bihar Assembly elections from Raghopur, there is no mention of the fact that he is the director of four of the five companies.
Every year on 1 January, the Bihar Chief Minister, his ministerial colleagues and all officers file their annual returns. However, in the annual declaration that Tejashwi filed last year, there is no mention that he is the director of five companies, except that he has invested close to Rs 20 lakh in Lara and Sons.
The response of Tejaswhi and Tej Pratap Yadav are awaited on the matter. Senior Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and national spokesperson of the party, Manoj Jha, told this newspaper, “Whatever Sushil Modi (BJP leader) is presenting as a kind of scam is actually based on information provided by parties concerned to different competent authorities for instance Registrar of Companies, Election Commission website or Secretariat, Patna. His politics reflects the desperation to have some say in BJP, which is forcing him to resort to hit-and-run politics. The RJD would urge the Central government to go strongly against benaami properties which shall bring the hidden wealth of some of the flag-bearers of truth and probity out in the open.”