Business India

CBI summons Lalu, Tejashwi in Railway hotel leasing case

The CBI on Thursday summoned RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his son Tejashwi Yadav to appear before it for questioning on September 11 and 12 regarding alleged irregularites in issuing contract for two IRCTC hotels in 2006 to a private company.

The two were directed to report at the Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters in New Delhi for questioning.

The CBI had in July filed a corruption case against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and Tejashwi for alleged irregularities when the Rashtriya Janata Dal President was the Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009.

The contracts for two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) hotels at Ranchi in Jharkhand and Puri in Odisha were handed over to Sujata Hotels company owned by Vijay and Vinay Kochhar in lieu of a bribe in the form of a plot of prime land in Patna in Bihar.

According to the CBI, Lalu Prasad allegedly granted illegal favours to Sujata Hotels through the IRCTC, and the tender process for the development, maintenance, and operation of the two hotels was manipulated in exchange for the three-acre plot in Patna where a mall is coming up.

The CBI, which registered the case on July 5 under Sections 420 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 13 and 13(1)B of the Prevention of Corruption Act, claimed that the kickbacks were paid through a ‘benami’ company owned by Sarala Gupta, wife of RJD MP Prem Chand Gupta.

The CBI FIR alleged that Vinay Kochhar sold three acres of land in Patna through 10 sale deeds on February 25, 2005, for Rs 1.47 crore to Delight Marketing Company in which Sarla Gupta was a Director.

The FIR alleged that the land was sold at a price below circle and market rates and was falsely shown as agricultural land to evade substantial stamp duty.

During the CBI preliminary inquiry, the agency allegedly found that the said land was sold by the Kochhars to Delight Marketing and payment was arranged through Ahluwalia Contractors and its promoter Bikramjeet Singh Ahluwalia.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is also probing the financial irregularities in the case, questioned Bikramjeet Singh Ahluwalia of Ahluwalia Constructions Pvt. Ltd. in connection with the case and also summoned Sujatha Hotels owners Vijay and Vinay Kochhar for questioning.

The ED had, on July 27, registered a separate case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act following the CBI FIR and is probing allegations against Lalu Prasad and others for alleged transaction of money through shell companies.

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