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Lalu Prasad seeks two weeks time to appear before CBI in corruption case

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-09-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad has sought two weeks to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for questioning in connection with a case of alleged graft in giving the maintenance contract for two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) hotels to a private firm, people aware of the matter said on Monday.

The contracts were given when Yadav was railway minister. Yadav, who was summoned by the CBI for the second time to appear before the investigating team, sent his lawyer who submitted the request seeking two weeks time for questioning, the CBI officials said. They said the agency was processing the request and would take a call on future course of action.

The lawyer did not say anything about Tejashwi Yadav, the RJD leader’s son and former deputy chief minister of Bihar, who is summoned in the case on Tuesday, they said. They had been called on 11 and 12 September.

Lalu Prasad did not turn up, citing an ongoing court case in Ranchi where his presence was required, while Tejashwi claimed he had political commitments to take care of. The case pertains to allegations that Lalu Prasad, as railway minister, handed over the maintenance of two hotels run by the IRCTC, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, in Ranchi and Puri to Sujata Hotel, a company owned by Vinay and Vijay Kochhar, in return for a prime plot of three acres in Patna through a benami company.

The FIR alleged that the RJD leader, as the railway minister, abused his official position for extending undue favours to the Kochhar and acquired a “high value premium land” through a benami firm Delight Marketing Company. As a quid pro quo, he “dishonestly and fraudulently” managed award of leasing of the two hotels.

The CBI has registered the case against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, a former Bihar chief minister, son Tejashwi, who was deputy CM until a few months ago, and Sarla Gupta, wife of Prem Chand Gupta, a former union minister. Others named as accused in the FIR include Vijay Kochhar, Vinay Kochhar, both directors of Sujata Hotels and owner of Chanakya Hotel, Delight Marketing Company, now known as Lara Projects, and then IRCTC managing director P.K. Goel.

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