CBI files chargesheet against Lalu Prasad in IRCTC case

Cor­rup­tion al­leged in award­ing con­tracts for IRCTC ho­tels

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Devesh K. Pandey

The Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion on Mon­day filed a chargesheet against for­mer Rail­way Min­is­ter Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and son Te­jaswi, besides 11 oth­ers, for al­leged cor­rup­tion in giv­ing main­te­nance con­tracts for two IRCTC ho­tels to a Patna-based com­pany.

The agency said it has ar­raigned 14 peo­ple in the chargesheet, in­clud­ing the eight al­ready named in the FIR reg­is­tered last July.

Among those chargesheeted are Mr. Prasad’s close con­fi­dant and Ra­jya Sabha MP Prem Chand Gupta, his wife Sarla Gupta, Patnabased Su­jata Ho­tels, its then di­rec­tors Vi­nay and Vi­jay Kochhar and LARA projects.

From the IRCTC, the then man­ag­ing di­rec­tor P.K. Goel, di­rec­tor Rakesh Saxena and then group gen­eral man­agers B.K. Agar­wal, R.K. Go­gia (com­pany sec­re­tary) and V. K. Asthana have also been made ac­cused. Mr. Agar­wal is cur­rently an ad­di­tional mem­ber in the rail­way board.

The chargesheet was filed be­fore a Delhi spe­cial court about a week af­ter the CBI recorded Rabri Devi’s state­ment in Patna.

“All the ac­cused have been ex­am­ined. Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions are under way and more chargesheets may be filed later,” said a CBI of­fi­cial.

‘Con­di­tions tweaked’

The agency has al­leged that the main­te­nance con­tracts for two IRCTC ho­tels in Ranchi and Puri were awarded to Su­jata Ho­tels by tweak­ing con­di­tions. Mr. Prasad was

then the Rail­way Min­is­ter. “Su­jata Ho­tels was ini­tially not el­i­gi­ble to bid for the con­tracts. How­ever, the con­tract con­di­tions were later al­tered to ac­com­mo­date it,” the of­fi­cial said. It is al­leged that the con­tracts were awarded in lieu of about three-acre com­mer­cial prop­erty in Patna.

MANOB CHOWD­HURY ■

Le­gal tan­gle: A file photo of Lalu Prasad dur­ing the hear­ing of a fod­der scam case in a CBI court in Ranchi.

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