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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Railway hotel case: Former Bihar CM Rabri Devi questioned by ED at last

Rabri Devi, the wife of Lalu Prasad and a senior RJD leader, had ignored summons at least six times

india Updated: Dec 02, 2017 17:21 IST
HT Correspondent and PTI
HT Correspondent and PTI
Hindustan Times, Patna
RJD leader Rabri Devi is surrounded by reporters as she enters the ED zonal office in Patna on Saturday.
RJD leader Rabri Devi is surrounded by reporters as she enters the ED zonal office in Patna on Saturday.(Santosh Kumar/HT photo)

RJD leader and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi met officials of the Enforcement Directorate on Saturday, responding at last to repeated summons for questioning in an alleged corruption case.

Devi, accompanied by her eldest daughter Misa Bharti and her husband, met the officials at the ED’s zonal office after, sources said, the investigators heeded to her request for the questioning to be done in Patna instead of Delhi. The case has been registered in the national capital.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal leader had ignored summonses from the ED at least six times. Her questioning began at 11:45am and it went on till last reports came in at 5pm.

The investigation is connected to a decision taken by Devi’s husband Lalu Prasad, who is accused of having abused his position as the Rail minister in 2004 to illegitimately hand over the maintenance of two Railway hotels to a private company after receiving a prime piece of land as bribe.

Most of Prasad’s family — who wield influence in Bihar — are named as suspects in the case. Prasad and his son Tejashwi Yadav have already been questioned by the ED, which is probing the money laundering aspect of the case. The corruption charges are being investigated by the CBI.

It was this case that led to a split between Prasad and his foe-turned-friend Nitish Kumar, who decided to break the so-called Grand Alliance coalition and realign with the Bharatiya Janata Party in July, within weeks of the investigation being opened.

The Enforcement Directorate is investigating the alleged “proceeds of crime” generated by the accused, purportedly through shell companies, according to officials.

Others named in the CBI FIR include Vijay Kochhar, Vinay Kochhar (both directors of Sujata Hotels), Delight Marketing company, now known as Lara Projects, and the then IRCTC managing director P K Goel.

Prasad’s family has denied the allegations.

First Published: Dec 02, 2017 17:19 IST

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