CBI raids Lalu and family’s 12 premises over railway hotel tender ‘irregularities’
In more trouble for Lalu Prasad, the CBI on Friday raided 12 places across the country, including his Patna home, over alleged irregularities in awarding of tenders for hotel maintenance when the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief was the railways minister.
The case has been registered against Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and their son Tejashwi, who is the deputy chief minister of Bihar, CBI sources said. The then Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation managing director PK Goyal and the wife of Prasad’s confidante Prem Chand Gupta, Sujata, are among the other accused. Gupta is a former union corporate affairs minister.
The simultaneous raids in Bihar’s capital Patna, Delhi, Gurgaon in Haryana, Puri in Odisha, and Ranchi in Jharkhand began at around 7:30am.
The RJD chief was not at his home when a CBI team reached his residence at 10, Circular Road in Patna. He is in Ranchi to appear in a CBI court in the fodder scandal that involves large-scale embezzlement of government funds.
The CBI is examining irregularities in awarding tenders to private firms for operating railway hotels located close to stations. Among the places being raided were a few farm houses and two hotels, including the popular Chanakya BNR hotel in Ranchi.
The raid, sources said, was being conducted by the Delhi team of the investigating agency. The CBI and police were tight-lipped over the searches.
These raids comes weeks after income-tax department searched locations in New Delhi and adjoining areas in connection with corruption charges against Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti and her husband Shailesh Kumar, who were also questioned.
Tejashwi and his elder brother Tej Pratap, who is the Bihar health minister, are also battling charges of corruption.
The RJD chief, who has proposed a grand alliance to take on the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha election, accuses the Modi government of a witchhunt against his family and denies the charges.
Prasad is being tried in the fodder scandal. He had to step down as a member of Parliament and was barred from electoral politics for at least six years on being found guilty in one of the cases in 2013.
(With agency inputs)