The state JD(U) charged Railway Minister Lalu Prasad with bestowing undue favour to an on board service provider for supplying bedrolls to passengers in air-conditioned coaches at low cost and urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to order a probe.
At a press conference, State JD(U) chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh, alias Lalan Singh, and senior leader Shivanand Tiwari claimed that huge 'extortion' from pantry car contractors was going on in full swing. "It was precisely for this reason that PK Goyal was appointed Managing Director of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC)", they asserted.
Singh and Tiwari said that they would take the issue to court and would also raise it in Parliament insisting that several rackets were flourishing in the Indian Railways. They stated that IRCTC was being run in flagrant violation of norms. Referring to the racket in supply of bedrolls, they said, AC class passengers were being charged Rs 25 per bedroll, while the tender was finalised at Rs 18. "This will lead to a net loss of Rs 307 crore to Indian Railways", the JD (U) leaders said.
Countrywide 272 trains were running with pantry cars and irregularities were rampant everywhere, they alleged, waving papers, which they claimed were documentary evidence of the fraud. As if this was not enough a swindle worth crores of rupees in cleaning of trains, supply of liquid soap and toilet paper was also thriving, Singh and Tiwari added.