(Image source from: News18.com)
Rabri Devi Skips ED Summons For Third Time In IRCTC Case:- In connection with alleged irregularities in a 2006 IRCTC hotels maintenance contract case, the ED summons were skipped by RJD Chief Lalu Prasad’s wife and former Bihar Chief Minister, Rabri Devi for the third time.
Rabri Devi was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate, on October 11, after she failed to appear before it last Wednesday. Her son and former Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav was grilled for nine hours, a day before that by the financial probe agency, in connection with alleged irregularities in the IRCTC contract case. After he was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for seven hours in connection with the case, the ED officials questioned him four days later. In connection with the case, the CBI also questioned Lalu Prasad Yadav, for over eight hours.
An ED official told a leading news channel: “We shall again summon Tejashwi and Rabri Devi for questioning in the case.” Tejashwi Yadav has asked the agency’s officials for eight-weeks time to appear before it again, said the official.
“However, we would call him soon next week,” the official added.
Following the CBI FIR in the matter, a separate case had been registered by the ED on July 27, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and for alleged transfer of money through shell companies, started investigating Lalu Prasad and others. A corruption case had been filed by the CBI on July 5, against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav for alleged irregularities in the allotment of contracts for Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) hotels in Ranchi and Puri in 2006 to a private firm. Lalu Prasad Yadav was the then Railway Minister.
The contracts were given to Sujata Hotels, a company owned by Vijay and Vinay Kochhar - both named in the CBI FIR as accused. The contracts were taken in the form of a three-acre commercial plot at a prime location in Bihar’s Patna district, as bribe, said the CBI.
A preliminary CBI inquiry found that the land was sold by the Kochhars to Delight Marketing Company and payment was arranged through Ahluwalia Contractors and its promoter Bikramjeet Singh Ahluwalia, another accused person. The ED has since questioned Ahluwalia. Delight Marketing, was later taken over by Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav, alleges the CBI. The Deligh Marketing originally, bought the property from the Kochhar.
Sarla Gupta, wife of the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief’s close associate and former Union Minister Prem Chand Gupta and a director of Delight Marketing, is a co-accused in the case, apart from then IRCTC Managing Director P.K. Goel.