Home / News / India /  CBI books former RVNL CMD in corruption case after Lokpal orders

After he was abruptly sacked in July this year, the Central Bureau of Investigation booked the former CMD of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) on the orders of Lokpal. He is accused of diverting around Rs. 1100 crore of government funds to a private company favored by him. Before his dismissal, he was managing the government's prestigious bullet train project as managing director, National High-Speed Railway Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL).

The private company Krishnapatnam Rail Co Ltd (KRCL) has also been booked by the CBI and a case is registered under section 120 B of IPC. The sections are related to criminal conspiracy and the prevention of corruption.

In its order recommending the CBI probe, the Lokpal has noted the misuse of office by Agnihotri, who diverted around Rs. 1100 (which would amount to 1,600 crore with interest), to KRCL in an unauthorized manner.

According to the complaint, Navyuga Engg Co Ltd (NECL) owned a private port in Krishnapatnam and desired to connect it to the railway network by constructing a 110-kilometer line.

RVNL and NECL formed a joint venture company KRCL in 2005-06, which received the diverted funds.

Lokpal also noted that Agnihotri directly violated CVC guidelines when he used his contacts at RVNL, where he worked for 9 years, to get many big contracts from RVNL to NECL.

Agnihotri was provided with a lucrative job at NECL, with perks including luxury cars and a farmhouse in Mehrauli, among other things after retirement from RVNL in 2018.

The complaint also records that in 2011, just before the West Bengal elections, then Union Minister for Railways Mamata Banerjee, handpicked Agnihotri as MD, RVNL by "jumping" several senior officers.

The Lokpal emphasised Agnihotri's enormous benefits under the Performance Related Pay Policy, which were unmatched by his peers in other PSUs. The anti-corruption watchdog also flags how Agnihotri was hired by NECL at an exorbitant salary shortly after his retirement.

In his detailed submissions to the Lokpal, Satish Agnihotri denied the allegations against him, claiming that the complainant began making these allegations against him only after his appointment as MD of NHSRCL. He even alleged that the complainant threatened him and his family over WhatsApp chats.

With Inputs from PTI

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