New Delhi: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Lalu Prasad was on Saturday granted bail by a Delhi court in the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) scam case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Also Read - Delhi: Engineer Among Two Held For Sale, Purchase, Circulation of Child Porn on Social Media
The former chief minister of Bihar, who is serving sentences in fodder scam cases, is currently admitted at Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) in Ranchi for treatment. Also Read - Bank Fraud: Hyderabad-based Co cheats SBI, Other Banks for ₹ 4,736 Crore
Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj here granted bail to Prasad on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and a surety of like amount. Also Read - CBI Conducts Raids At Premises Of TMC Leader Vinay Mishra In Cattle Smuggling Case
On the other hand, the Patiala House court extended the interim bail of Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi Yadav and others till January 28 in a separate case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged money laundering in the scam.
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 the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched in pursuance of which BNR hotels of the Indian Railways, located 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 manipulated and the conditions were tweaked to help the private party – Sujata Hotels. Based on the CBI case, the ED also lodged a case of money laundering against Prasad, Devi, Yadav and others.
Among others named in the chargesheet are – then group general managers of IRCTC VK Asthana and RK Goyal and Vijay Kochhar, Vinay Kochhar, both directors of Sujata Hotels and owners of Chanakya Hotel.
Delight Marketing Company, now known as Lara Projects, and Sujata Hotels Private Limited have also been named as accused firms in the chargesheet.
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.
According to an FIR flied by CBI, 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 MP in Rajya Sabha, and IRCTC officials for “undue pecuniary advantage to himself and others”.
The probe agency also alleged that BNR hotels were transferred to Sujata Hotels through a “rigged and manipulated” tender process managed by PK Goyal, the then managing director of IRCTC.
The CBI inquiry shows that the railways sought bids for developing, operating and maintaining Rail Ratna Hotels on September 16, 2006. The probe agency has alleged that Prasad was aware about the whole process and was keeping a track of the tender proceedings.
The RJD chief has been serving sentence in Ranchi jail since December 2017 following his conviction in fodder scam cases. Earlier this month, the Jharkhand High court had rejected the bail plea of Prasad in three fodder scam cases.
(Inputs from PTI)