CBI files charge sheet against Lalu, Rabri, Tejashwi in IRCTC case

The CBI had registered a case in July last year and carried out searches at 12 locations in Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Gurugram in connection with the case

india Updated: Apr 16, 2018 23:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CBI,IRCTC case,Lalu Prasad Yadav
Convicted prisoner in a fodder scam RJD President Lalu Prasad with party workers at Ranchi railway station to board the New Delhi bound Rajdhani Express.(HT File Photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday filed a charge sheet against former railway minister and RJD strongman Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi Yadav, close aide and MP Prem Chand Gupta, and 10 others (which includes two companies) in connection with handing out a maintenance contract for two IRCTC hotels to a private firm.

According to the agency’s FIR, filed last year, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation — a subsidiary of the Indian Railways — awarded the maintenance contract for two of its hotels in Ranchi and Puri to Sujata Hotel (a company owned by Vinay and Vijay Kochhar) in 2006 allegedly in return for a prime three-acre plot in Patna through a benami company. Lalu Prasad was the railway minister at the time (2004-2009).

The FIR alleged that Lalu abused his official position to extend undue favours to the Kochhars.The benami firm, Delight Marketing Company, was allegedly owned by Sarla Gupta, the wife of RJD MP Prem Chand Gupta. She, too, has been named in the charge sheet.

The agency alleged that after the tender was awarded to Sujata Hotel, the ownership of Delight also changed hands from Sarla to Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav. The change of ownership happened between 2010 and 2014.

During the investigation, the CBI questioned Lalu and Rabri, and also conducted searches at 12 locations, including at the family members’ premises in Patna, Delhi, Gurgaon, Puri and Ranchi on July 7, 2017.

Among the others names in the charge sheet include then group general manager of IRCTC, BK Agarwal; former group general manager of IRCTC, VK Asthana; and a few other railway officials.

Lalu has also been convicted in four fodder scam cases so far and is serving his sentences.

Responding to the development, RJD spokesperson Shakti Singh Yadav said, “The charge sheet against the RJD’s top leaders has exposed the CBI. The charge sheet has been filed despite the CBI legal cell accepting that there was no merit in the case. The CBI has become a Conspiracy Bureau of India.”

First Published: Apr 16, 2018 23:09 IST