After suffering the embarrassment of his parents-in-law having been caught during ticketless travel on a train in Bihar two days ago, Railway Minister Lalu Yadav has apparently decided that the best damage control exercise would be to accept the fact with a brave face instead of trying to cook up some excuse or the other.
While railway officials had been coming up with different versions of the incident, the Minister admitted on Thursday that his wife Rabri Devi's parents had indeed been found travelling without proper tickets in an AC first class coach.
Not only this, Lalu went on to praise the ticket examiner (TTE) who had nabbed them saying that the incident should be a lesson for others who travelled without tickets.
The septuagenarian couple, Shiv Prasad Choudhary and Maharajo Devi, had boarded the Darbhanga-New Delhi Sampark Kranti Express at Hajipur station for Siwan on Tuesday.
En route, at Chhapra, which also happens to be the constituency that Lalu represents in the Lok Sabha, the TTE found them without valid tickets for the airconditioned class coach.
"The prompt action taken by the TTE with regard to my parents-in-law is a matter of pride for us.
His bold step to immediately charge money from them is commendable.... It should be a lesson for those travelling without tickets," Lalu told mediapersons at the Rail Bhawan.
The Minister admitted that his in-laws had committed a mistake but added that it had been immediately set right as they paid the AC first class fare to the TTE.A Railway Ministry official claimed that the couple had the tickets for ordinary class travel on the train which were later converted by payment of balance fare.