IRCTC case: CBI charge-sheets Lalu, wife, son, top Railway Board official
New Delhi, April 17 The CBI on Monday filed a charge-sheet against former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi Yadav, a top Railway Board official, RJD MP P.C. Gupta and others in connection with its probe into the alleged irregularities in the 2006 IRCTC hotels maintenance contract case.
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official told IANS: “The agency has filed a charge-sheet against 12 persons and two companies in a Delhi court.”
The case pertains to the period when Lalu Prasad was the Railway Minister.
According to an agency official, the charge-sheet has been filed against seven persons and a company named in a case filed last year, and five persons and a company whose names did not figure in that case.
“Lalu Prasad, his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, his son and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, former MD of IRCTC P.K. Goel, Sujata Hotels directors Vinay and Vijay Kochhar, Sarala Gupta — wife of Prem Chand Gupta, and Lara Projects LLP have been charge-sheeted,” he said.
Besides, the CBI charge-sheet also named Additional Member of the Railway Board B.K. Agarwal, who was then Group General Manager (GGM) of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
The official said in the case filed last year, Agarwal’s name was not there. His name was included later after evidence was found against him.
The CBI also charge-sheeted former GGM of IRCTC V.K. Asthana, R.K. Gogia — then GGM (company secretary) of IRCTC, Ramesh Saxena — then IRCTC Director and Sujata Hotels Pvt Ltd.
On April 10, the CBI had grilled Rabri Dev for hours in Patna in connection with the case.
In October last year, the CBI had also questioned Lalu Prasad and his younger son Tejashwi Yadav at its Delhi headquarters.
The CBI on July 5, 2017 filed a corruption case against Rabri Devi, Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Yadav for alleged irregularities in the allotment of contracts of two IRCTC hotels in Ranchi and Puri in 2006 to a private firm.
The contracts were given to Sujata Hotels, a company owned by Vijay and Vinay Kochhar, in lieu of a bribe in the form of a three-acre commercial plot at a prime location in Patna district.
A preliminary CBI inquiry reportedly found that the said land was sold by the Kochhars to one Delight Marketing Company and payment was arranged through Ahluwalia Contractors and its promoter Bikramjeet Singh Ahluwalia, another accused in the case.
Delight Marketing, which bought the property from the Kochhars, was later taken over by Rabri Devi and Tejashwi, the CBI discovered.
After Lalu Prasad’s family members took over the company between 2010 and 2014, it was renamed LARA Projects and converted into a limited liability partnership firm, the agency said.
Sarla Gupta, wife of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s close associate Prem Chand Gupta and a director of Delight Marketing, is a co-accused in the case.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is probing the money laundering aspect in the case and it had on July 27 last year registered a separate case following the CBI FIR.
The ED is probing Lalu Prasad and others for alleged transfer of money through shell companies.