Lalu Yadav turns up at CBI office, faces eight hours grilling

The CBI has summoned Lalu Yadav's son Tejashwi Yadav for questioning in the same case on Friday.

New Delhi: After avoiding CBI grilling for weeks, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Thursday appeared before the probe agency in connection with the alleged irregularities committed in awarding tenders for railway hotels in 2006.

Lalu Yadav,who arrived at the CBI headquarters at 11 am, was accompanied by his daughter Misa. He was questioned for nearly eight hours.

“The officials asked pointed questions pertaining to the case during interrogation. The questioning took place in a cordial manner,” CBI sources said, adding that he may be called for questioning again.

The CBI has summoned Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav for questioning in the same case on Friday.

Later, Lalu Yadav slammed the central government for misusing the CBI to harass him.

“They are doing what the central government is telling them and instructing them,” said the former railway minister.

He, however, said, “It’s a fraud case against me. It’s a political conspiracy against me. The BJP and Amit Shah are a party to this. They want to ruin my family. I will uproot communalism and fascism even if I am hanged,” he said.

Sources said Ms Misa was asked to wait in the lobby while her father was grilled. Lalu Yadav had defied three summons of the CBI in the past. The CBI has accused Lalu Yadav of having rigged and manipulated the tender process while awarding contracts to two IRCTC hotels when he was Railways minister in 2006.

The case pertains to allegations that Lalu Yadav, as railway minister, handed over the maintenance of two hotels run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (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 CBI’s FIR alleged that the RJD leader, as the railway minister, abused his official position for extending undue favours to the company 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.

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