New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday registered a case against former railway minister Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and son and Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav for alleged irregularities in a deal dating back to 2006.
Searches were conducted across 12 locations, including Delhi, Patna, Ranchi, Puri and Gurgaon in connection with the case, said CBI.
A CBI statement said those named in the case included the then managing director of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), two directors of a private company, Sarla Gupta and her husband Prem Chand Gupta, “a private person, “a private marketing company and unknown others".
The case has to do with irregularities in the award of a tender for development, maintenance and operation of hotels at Ranchi and Puri to a private company in 2006, said a CBI statement.
CBI additional director Rakesh Asthana said the case had been registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act. “Between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched in pursuance of which BNR Hotels of the Indian Railways at Ranchi and Puri was transferred to IRCTC. Its upkeep and maintenance was then transferred to a private firm and it was found that the tender process was rigged and the conditions tweaked to help the private party," said Asthana.
He also alleged that Lalu had been allotted three acres of land, the cost of which was Rs94 crore, for a mere Rs65 lakh.
“The actual process (of rigging the tender) started in 2004. Lalu Prasad was well aware of the entire goings on and there is sufficient evidence to prove that he was in the know. That entire matter is now under investigation. We are also probing the involvement of unknown persons from the railway board who were in the know or involved in the process," Asthana added.
In the wake of CBI’s case against him and his family, Lalu hit out at the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at a press conference in Patna. He claimed that he was being systematically targeted by the NDA government.
“All this has happened because of me and my party bringing together all other opposition parties of similar mindset to unite against the Narendra Modi government. This is just political vendetta against me and my family. They want to break us and my rivals want to send me to jail, they want me to surrender," the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader said.
The Congress, too, was critical of the raids and the case registered against the Yadavs.
“The law of the land must take its own course in an impartial and just manner. Law enforcing agencies like the CBI and ED (Enforcement Directorate) have become captive puppets. Seeking revenge against political opponents does not bode well for a democracy," said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.