Court Refuses To Cancel Tejashwi Yadav's Bail In CBI Case, But He Gets A Warning

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav at a Delhi court.

New Delhi:

While it did not cancel his bail, a Delhi court today reprimanded Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav over his statements about the CBI and its officers, who are probing an alleged scam in which he’s an accused. “If you speak in public, then choose the right words,” the judge told Mr Yadav after the CBI said he’d issued threats to its officers.

The CBI also told the court that one of its investigating officers faced an attempt on his life in Uttar Pradesh, but added, “We have no evidence to draw a link to this case. But after that threat, there is an atmosphere of fear and anxiety.”

The RJD leader had said at a press conference in Patna, “Don’t CBI officers have mothers, sisters and children… Will they always be CBI officers? Will they not retire? You should faithfully follow the duty of a constitutional organisation.”

The CBI played this and some other parts of the statement in a Delhi district court to allege a threat — citing it as grounds for putting him in jail while the probe proceeds. But Mr Yadav dismissed the CBI’s arguments as “just a narrative-building exercise” by the ruling BJP against rivals.

The judge later asked Tejashwi Yadav, rhetorically, “Should such statements be made while being the Deputy Chief Minister,” and warned him against making “any such statement from now on”.

The central agency was seeking cancellation of bail to Tejashwi Yadav in an alleged scam in contract of two hotels of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to a private firm, when his father Lalu Prasad Yadav was Railway Minister in the Congress-led UPA government around 10 years ago.

“There is a difference between criticising and threatening,” Tejashwi Yadav argued through his lawyer during the hearing. 

“I am an easy target because I’m not with the current government. Nitish Kumar was all good for 15 years because you were in power with him,” Mr Yadav further said, alluding to the recent political turnaround in Bihar, where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dumped the BJP as an ally to revive the JDU-RJD pact, making Tejashwi Yadav his deputy.

“My right to ask questions cannot be taken away,” Mr Yadav told the court, denying any link with a mall in Haryana’s Gurugram that the CBI says was a bribe for hotel contracts. “These are diversionary tactics being played through unverified news reports citing ‘sources’.”

The court, while pulling up the young leader, did not agree with the CBI’s plea to cancel his bail: “There’s no basis for that.”

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