How CBI came to raid Lalu Prasad’s properties over land-for-hotels deal
The CBI raids were carried out at 12 locations in five cities a day after the CBI filed cases against Lalu Prasad and others related to him.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) searched the homes and properties of former railway minister Lalu Prasad and his family on Friday as part of investigations into alleged misconduct in giving out contracts for the maintenance of railway hotels.
The raids were carried out at 12 locations in five cities a day after the CBI filed cases against Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi and son and deputy Bihar chief minister Tejashwi, among others.
The CBI is examining possible irregularities in the awarding of contracts to private firms to operate railway hotels, including two BNR hotels in Ranchi and Puri, and whether Lalu and his family benefitted from it.
The CBI alleges that the Indian Railways under Lalu Prasad awarded contracts to run the BNR hotels to a company called Sujata Hotels, which then transferred two acres of prime land in Patna to family members of Lalu through an intermediary company called Delight Marketing. The land changed hands at a rate far below the market price.
Here is a timeline of events leading up to Friday’s raids:
18.9.2001: Railway board decides to transfer complete management of catering services, including railway hotels, to IRCTC
9.3.2004: Indian Railways signs memorandum of understanding with IRCTC detailing the modalities of transfer of management of static and mobile catering to IRCTC
May 2004: Lalu Prasad becomes railway minister
31.8.2004: Chairman of railway board tells railway board that “only catering managed by private contractors pertaining to pantry, refreshment room should be transferred to IRCTC and department catering shall continue to remain with railway at present”
30.11.2004: Secretary of railway board informs Yadav about the taking over of existing railway hotels in Ranchi and Puri by IRCTC
25.02.2005: Railways informs IRCTC about the transfer of BNR hotels to IRCTC. The same day land owned by Harsh Kochhar and Vijay Kochhar of Sujatha Hotels sold to Delight Marketing Company for Rs1.47Cr, less than the prevailing market rate
25.08.2005: Secretary of railway board sends to Lalu minutes of the board meeting related to transfer of hotels in Ranchi and Puri
10.7.2006: Director IRCTC moves proposal for development of BNR hotels through Private- Public Partnership
03.11.2006: Advertisement seeking bids from private contractors published
13.11.2006: Director IRCTC amends the eligibility condition. The amendment allows Sujatha Hotels to bid for contract
15.11.2006: Fresh advertisements issued based on amended eligibility
27.12.2006: Sujata Hotels win contract for the two railways (BNR) hotels in Ranchi and Puri
May 2010 - February 2014: Delight Marketing Company controlled by Sarla Gupta begins gradual transfer of land to Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi
05 July 2017: The CBI files Regular Case