ED summons Tejashwi, Rabri in railway hotels corruption case

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New Delhi, SepT 27 (PTI): The ED has summoned former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav and his mother Rabri Devi in connection with its money laundering probe in a railway hotels allotment corruption case dating back to the UPA rule, officials on Wednesday said. They said Tejashwi, son of RJD chief and former Union minister Lalu Prasad, has been asked to be present before the investigating officer (IO) of the case on October 10. Lalu’s wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri has been summoned a day after on October 11. She was earlier summoned twice by the Enforcement Directorate in this case but she is understood to have sought more time to appear.

The case dates back to the time when Lalu was the railway minister in the UPA government. The central probe agency is expected to record their statements under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), under which it had registered an FIR against members of Lalu Prasad family and others sometime back. The Enforcement Directorate had earlier questioned a few people in this case including the wife of former UPA minister P C Gupta.

The agency had taken cognisance of a CBI FIR in this regard to initiate its own criminal complaint.

In July, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a criminal first information report (FIR) and conducted multiple searches against Lalu Prasad, who is also a former Bihar chief minister, and others. The ED will investigate the alleged “proceeds of crime” generated by the accused, purportedly through shell companies, officials have said. Rabri, Tejashwi and others will be probed by the agency under charges filed in the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), the ED equivalent of a police FIR. Others named in the CBI FIR include Vijay Kochhar, Vinay Kochhar (both directors of Sujata Hotels), Delight Marketing company, now known as Lara Projects, and the then IRCTC managing director P K Goel. The CBI FIR alleges that Lalu Prasad, as railway minister, handed over the maintenance of two IRCTC hotels to a company after receiving a bribe in the form of prime land in Patna through a ‘benami’ company owned by Sarla Gupta. The FIR was registered on July 5 in connection with favours allegedly extended to Sujata Hotels in awarding a contract for the upkeep of the hotels in Ranchi and Puri and receiving premium land as ‘quid pro quo’. The ED, under the PMLA, has powers to attach and confiscate tainted assets and it is likely that the agency will initiate such a move once it makes progress in the case.

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