A Delhi court has extended interim bail granted to RJD chief Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi in two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) scam cases till January 28.
The cases relate to alleged irregularities in granting the operational contract of two IRCTC hotels to a private firm.
According to the charge sheet filed by CBI, between 2004 and 2014, BNR hotels in Puri and Ranchi were first transferred to IRCTC and later, for its operations, maintenance and upkeep, given on lease to Sujata Hotels Private Limited, which is based in Patna, Bihar.It is alleged that the tender process was rigged and the conditions were tweaked to help the private party – Sujata Hotels.
Based on the CBI case, ED also filed money laundering case against Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi, Tejashwi Yadav and others. Former Union minister Prem Chand Gupta, then managing director of IRCTC PK Goyal was also named as accused in the charge sheet.
The CBI registered a case in July 2017, and carried out searches at 12 locations in Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Gurgaon in connection with the case. The charges in the case include criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption, CBI had said.
Between 2010 and 2014, this land was further transferred, CBI alleged.
In 2001, it was decided to handover the management of catering services of the Indian Railways, including of its hotels, to the IRCTC. Two such hotels – BNR Hotels in Ranchi and Puri – were also identified and a memorandum of understanding was signed between the railways and the IRCTC on March 19, 2004.
According to an FIR filed by CBI, Lalu Prasad, the then railway minister, entered into criminal conspiracy with the owner of Sujata Hotels, Sarla Gupta, wife of his close associate Prem Chand Gupta, a Rashtriya Janata Dal lawmaker in Rajya Sabha, and IRCTC officials for “undue pecuniary advantage to himself and others”.
The CBI inquiry shows that the railways sought bids for developing, operating and maintaining Rail Ratna Hotels on September 16, 2006.