Delhi Court To Give Verdict Next Week Over Summoning Of Lalu Yadav In IRCTC Case

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today reserved for July 30 its special order on whether to summon RJD supremo and former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Yadav as all of them are accused in a case related to alleged irregularities in granting operational contract of two IRCTC hotels to a private firm.

Special judge Arvind Kumar fixed the date to pronounce the order after being asked by the CBI, which had on April 16 filed the charge sheet in the same case, that there were enough evidence available against them.

“Let me go through the documents. I will pronounce order on Monday,” the judge said.

The CBI also informed the court authorities that sanction has been procured from the officials concerned to prosecute Additional Member of Railway Board B K Agarwal, who was then the group general manager of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

Besides including Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members, former union minister Prem Chand Gupta and his wife Sarla Gupta, B K Agarwal, then managing director of IRCTC P K Goyal and then IRCTC director Rakesh Saxena was also named in the available charge sheet.

Apart from above names, the charge sheet also included the group general managers belonging to IRCTC V K Asthana and R K Goyal, Vijay Kochhar, Vinay Kochhar, both of them are directors of Sujata Hotels and own Chanakya Hotel.

Earlier, the Delight marketing company was known as Lara Projects and Sujata Hotels Private Limited, both of which are in the list of accused companies given in the charge sheet.

The CBI had registered a case in July last year and carried out several searches at 12 locations in the cities of Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, and Gurugram in connection with the case. The charges in the case completely include criminal conspiracy (120-B), cheating (420) under IPC and corruption, the central probe agency had said.

According to the filed charge sheet, between the year 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was planned in pursuance of which BNR hotels of Indian Railways, located at the cities of Puri and Ranchi, were in fact first transferred to the IRCTC and later, for its operations, maintenance and upkeep, it was also given on lease to Sujata Hotel Private Limited, which is actually based in Patna.

It is alleged that the whole tender process was rigged and manipulated, and the conditions were tweaked to help the private party (Sujata Hotels).

It also said that Vinay Kochhar on February 25, 2005, sold commercial property in the form of three acres of land in Patna through 10 sale deeds for Rs. 1.47 crore to Delight Marketing, in which Sarla Gupta was a director as a front benami holder on behalf of Lalu Prasad.

The period between 2010 and 2014, this land was further transferred, the CBI alleged.

In 2001, it was decided to hand over the whole management of catering services of Indian Railways, including of its hotels, to the IRCTC. Two such hotels — BNR Hotels in Ranchi and Puri — were also identified here and a MoU was signed between the Railways and the IRCTC on March 19, 2004.

According to an FIR filed by the Central Bureau Investigations, Lalu Prasad Yadav, who was the then railway minister, entered into criminal conspiracy with the owner of Sujata hotels Sarla Gupta, the wife of his close associate Prem Chand Gupta, an RJD MP in the Rajya Sabha, and IRCTC officials for “undue pecuniary advantage to himself and others”.

The probe agency also put up allegations apart from above, that the BNR hotels were transferred to Sujata Hotels through a planned and manipulated tender process managed by P K Goel, the then MD of IRCTC.

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