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  India   All India  03 Dec 2017  ED grills Rabri Devi for seven hours over hotel scam

ED grills Rabri Devi for seven hours over hotel scam

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 3, 2017, 1:28 am IST
Updated : Dec 3, 2017, 5:40 am IST

Rabri Devi’s appearance before the probe agency comes after she skipped similar summonses at least six times.

Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi (Photo: PTI)
 Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi on Saturday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a railway hotels allotment corruption case. Rabri Devi, the wife of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, reached the ED zonal office in Patna.

Sources said a special team of the ED from Delhi questioned the former Bihar CM and recorded her statement under the provisions of the Preven-tion of Money Launder-ing Act (PMLA). Lalu Prasad was the railway minister in the UPA-I government. “A special team of the agency from Delhi recorded her statement under the PMLA. She was questioned for seven hours,” sources said.

 

Rabri Devi’s appearance before the probe agency comes after she skipped similar summonses at least six times.

It is understood that the agency allowed her request to be questioned in Patna and not in Delhi, where the criminal case has been registered. The ED has earlier questioned Rabri Devi’s son Tejashwi Yad-av, former deputy chief minister of Bihar, twice in this case. In July, the agency had registered a case against Lalu Prasad, his family members and others under various provisions of the PMLA.

RJD sources said that “Misha Bharti and others were made to sit in a separate room during the questioning but were allowed to meet with the former chief minister during lunch break.”

 

RJD chief Lalu Yadav had earlier dubbed cases and CBI raids against his family a political conspiracy by the BJP.

According to the RJD chief, repeated summon notices were sent to Rabri Devi “to harass the family out of vendetta politics”.

He told this newspaper on Saturday, “We have always cooperated with the investigating agency but one summon notice after another was being sent on the instructions of the BJP who wants to stop us from raising our voices against their failures. Nothing will stop me.”

Before that, the CBI had registered a first information report and conducted multiple searches on the properties of Lalu Prasad and others. The CBI FIR alleged that Lalu Prasad, during his tenure as the railway minister in the UPA-I government, handed over the maintenance of two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) hotels to a company in 2004 after receiving bribe in the form of a prime land in Patna through a “benami” company owned by Sarla Gupta, wife of Prem Chand Gupta, a former Union minister.

 

The ED registered the criminal case against his family members and others under the PMLA, based on the CBI FIR.

The CBI has already recorded the statements of Tejashwi and Lalu Prasad in this case. The ED is investigating the alleged “proceeds of crime” generated by the accused, purportedly through shell companies, according to the officials.

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 then IRCTC managing director P K Goel. The CBI 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”.

 

Tags: rabri devi, lalu prasad yadav, enforcement directorate
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi