Sachchidanand Jha

Patna : With the CBI summoning RJD Chief Lalu Prasad to appear before its Delhi office on September 11, 2017, to quiz him in connection with land for hotel scam, the legal troubles for the Railways Minister has increased. Lalu, who is already facing trial in four fodder scam cases at Ranchi following a Supreme Court order, will now have to make rounds of Delhi as well. The CBI has also summoned Lalu’s younger son and Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejaswi Yadav to its Delhi office on September 12 in the same connection.

The CBI had on July 5, 2017, registered a case in Delhi against Lalu, his wife and former CM Rabri Devi, Tejsawi and others in connection with land for hotel scam. The investigating agency had carried out a search operation at Rabri’s official residence at Patna on July 7 and quizzed both her and Tejaswi for several hours. Both Rabri and Tejaswi were also also quizzed for several hours by Income-Tax (IT) officers at Patna recently allegedly in connection with their Benaami properties. The  ED on September 5 attached the Bijwasan Farm House, Delhi, of Dr Misa Bharti, a Rajya Sabha Member and daughter of Lalu and Rabri.

Reacting to CBI summon to Lalu and Tejaswi, RJD spokesman Shakti Singh Yadav said that both the RJD leaders were capable of replying to CBI questions. He, however, said that the agency was soft-pedalling the multi-crore Srijan Fund scam. But, JD(U) spokesperson Sanjay Singh, MLC, said that the Srijan scam began in 2003 in RJD regime. Describing Lalu as ` Ghotala Ram’, Sanjay Singh said that the RJD chief would now keep making rounds of Delhi, Ranchi and Patna. Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi (SuMo) had on September 6 alleged that Tejaswi owns 30 properties. He also alleged that Lalu had also made two leaders RJD MLCs in exchange of plots near Saguna Mor, Patna.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had registered a case u/s 120 B r/w 420 of IPC and Section 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) of PC Act, 1988, against the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad,  Rabri, Tejaswi, a private person based in Delhi, two Directors of a private Hotel Ltd Company, a private Projects/Marketing company based in Delhi, the then MD, IRCTC, and unknown others on the allegations of awarding the tender for development, maintenance and operation of BNR Hotels at Ranchi and Puri to said private Hotel Ltd Company in 2006.

The case was registered consequent to a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) which prima facie revealed that then Railway Minister, had allegedly derived undue advantage by abuse of his official position and by way of sale of about 3 acre of land at Patna by the owners of said private Hotel Ltd Company to another private marketing company having  wife of his close associate as its Director at a price which was less than the prevalent circle rate.  It was also alleged that this favour was returned to the company by award of long term lease for the BNR hotels at Ranchi and Puri by manipulating the tender process.

It was further alleged that as per available records, the entire shareholding of said private marketing company was transferred to wife of then Railway Minister and his son between 2010-14 for a consideration of approx Rs 64 lakh, when this company owned land worth around Rs 32.5 crore ( as per circle rate) and around Rs 94 crore (as per the market rate). It is alleged that Lalu as railway minister had handed over the maintenance of two Railways hotels– BNR Ranchi and BNR Puri– to Sujata Hotel, a company owned by Vinay and Vijay Kochhar.

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