IRCTC hotels contract case: CBI files charge sheet against Lalu Prasad and others

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NEW DELHI, APR 16,
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday filed a charge sheet against former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and others in connection with the Railway-IRCTC hotels’ maintenance contract case.
About a week ago, the agency had recorded the statement of former Bihar Chief Minister and Mr. Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi in Patna. She is also an accused in the case along with her son Tejaswi.
The agency had registered the case last year alleging that the maintenance contracts for two IRCTC hotels in Ranchi and Puri were awarded to Patna-based Sujata Hotels by tweaking the conditions. Mr. Prasad was then the Railway Minister.
Those named as accused also include Sujata Hotels’ directors Vijay and Vinay Kochhar, Delight Marketing and others.The CBI has alleged that the contracts were awarded in lieu of about three acre commercial property in Patna. The property was first sold to “front company” Delight Marketing, which was later taken over by Mr. Prasad’s family members.
In all, 14 people have been arraigned in the charge sheet, including eight named in FIR.
They include Mr. Prasad, Ms. Devi and son Tejaswi, close confidant Prem Chand Gupta, his wife Sarla Gupta, Sujata Hotels, its owners Vinay and Vijay Kochhar, LARA projects, then Managing Director P.K. Goel, then Director Rakesh Saxena and then Group General Manager B.K. Agarwal of IRCTC. Mr. Agarwal is currently additional member Railway Board.
Then IRCTC GGMs R.K. Gogia (company secretary) and V. K. Asthana have also been named as accused.
It is alleged that in February 2005, the Kochhars had sold the land to Delight Marketing and the same day the Railway Board informed the IRCTC that railway hotels were being transferred to it.
Subsequently, maintenance contracts of the two hotels were given to Sujata Hotels, it is alleged.
After Mr. Prasad’s family members took over the company between 2010-14, it was renamed as LARA Projects and then it was converted into a Limited Liability Partnership firm.
The property’s circle rate was ?.32 crore, while its market value was ?.94 crore, the agency had said.
Based on the CBI case, the Enforcement Directorate has also launched a money laundering probe and attached the three-acre land. The ED also recorded Ms. Rabri Devi’s statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

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