New Delhi: Money laundering case was filed against Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family members by the Enforcement Directorate in the Railway hotel tender case. They were booked under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Thursday.
The case is related to an alleged scandal dating back to 2005, when Lalu was the Railway Minister. According to the probing officials, Lalu had used his official position to flout the set guidelines while inviting tenders for the maintenance and upkeep of two BNR hotels in Ranchi and Patna. Explained: Details of Charges Against Lalu Yadav in IRCTC Hotel Tenders Case.
The tenders were awarded to M/S Sujata Private Limited, owned by Patna-based Vijay Kochhar and Vinay Kochhar. As per the charges, the contracts were awarded to the Sujata Private Limited, after it bribed Lalu and his kin through a benaami company – Delight Marketing – registered in the name of Sarla Gupta, wife of RJD MP and Lalu’s close aide Prem Chand Gupta.
“The owners of Sujata Hotel gave three acres of land in western Patna to Delight Marketing which is known to the family of Lalu Yadav at a very low cost. Subsequently, between 2010 to 2014, this land was further transferred to another company Lara Projects owned by family members of Lalu Yadav,” CBI’s additional director Rakesh Asthana was quoted as saying by a news agency.
The CBI, on July 5, filed an FIR against Lalu in the alleged land-for-hotel scam. The complaint was registered against Lalu, his wife and then chief minister Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi, close aide Prem Chand Gupta, his wife Sarla Gupta and the then IRCTC Manager Director PK Goyal, among others.
While Goyal has been primarily accused of rigging the tender process, Lalu Yadav has been charged of ensuring that no other bids qualified to be considered for awarding the maintenance contract.
Vinay Kochhar is alleged to have sold three acres of premium land in Patna for Rs 1.47 crore to Delight Marketing on February 25, 2005 which was way below the circle rate.
Between 2010 and 2014, the ownership of Delight Marketing also changed hands from Sarla Gupta to Lara Projects owned by Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav when Lalu Yadav was no longer minister. By this time, the value of the Patna land had also spiralled to Rs 32.5 crore as per the circle rate, the CBI claimed.