Lalu Prasad Yadav rail hotels: Don’t recall anything, says tender panel

The three-member committee had processed and green-flagged the bids by Sujata Hotels for the hotels under the scanner — BNR Puri and BNR Ranchi — in December 2006.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Published:August 1, 2017 4:23 am
Lalu Yadav, Rabri Devi, Patna airport, airport paas, airport access Former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

THE INVESTIGATION by the CBI and ED into the award of two hotel tenders by the Railways in 2006, under the then Union Rail Minister Lalu Prasad, to Patna-based Sujata Hotels is likely to come up against an unlikely hurdle. All the three members of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s Tender Committee at the time — B K Agrawal, Vinod Asthana and Rakesh Gogia — have told The Indian Express that they are unable to recall a single detail related to those tenders.

The three-member committee had processed and green-flagged the bids by Sujata Hotels for the hotels under the scanner — BNR Puri and BNR Ranchi — in December 2006.
Agrawal currently holds a senior position in the Railways, Asthana retired in 2014 and Gogia, the sole non-Railways member on that committee, is currently employed in the private sector.

“I don’t remember anything about the two hotels. It’s been so long,” said Agrawal. Asked if he would be able to refresh his memory if documents related to the tenders were shown to him, Agrawal said, “Even if I see the papers now, it would not be right for me to say that I would remember.” Agrawal, a Railways mechanical service officer, was group general manager (tourism services) of IRCTC in 2006 when he was on the tender committee. Now, he heads the Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops in the Railways.

Asthana, a Railways traffic service officer, was the group general manager (operations) of IRCTC in 2006 and went on to become the director of the company before retiring as managing director of Central Railside Warehousing Corporation under the Food Ministry. “So many years have passed, it is difficult for me to remember anything off-hand. There used to be tenders almost every day those days. In any case, I was in catering, and this issue was not related to my division. I was only a part of the tender committee,” said Asthana.

The third member, Gogia, was joint general manager (finance) and company secretary with IRCTC in 2006. In 2008, when questions were first raised about these tenders, Gogia released a signed note to the media, claiming that the process did not flout any rules. “Which note are you talking about? I never issued any note. It was not my job also,” said Gogia. The Indian Express has a copy of the note. “I don’t remember anything (about the tenders) and nothing out of the ordinary happened,” said Gogia, who left IRCTC in 2010.

The CBI recently collected the names of all officials directly involved with the two tenders at IRCTC as part of its investigation. In its FIR registered last month, the agency alleged that RJD chief Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Yadav had received a prime plot of land in Patna in exchange for awarding the two tenders. Last Thursday, the ED registered a money-laundering case related to these tenders against Prasad and his family members.

Documents linked to the two tenders show that Sujata Hotels emerged as the only eligible bidder for the Puri hotel by default as there was no other bidder in the financial round. Records also show that the IRCTC’s three-member tender committee stated the only other bidder in contention, Hotel Keshari of Bhubaneshwar, did not qualify for the financial round as it “did not seem to have a plan” to execute the contract.

For the Ranchi hotel, the tender committee chose Sujata’s bid over Dina Nath Hotels in the financial round. The committee had submitted its reports on the two hotels to the tender accepting authority, the then IRCTC managing director, P K Goyal, on December 23, 2006. It was approved on the same day by Goyal, who has also been named in the CBI FIR.

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  1. S
    SANKARANARAYANAN
    Aug 1, 2017 at 6:58 pm
    Post Your Comment Your email address will not be published. It is shame on BJP as it seems the Party is having no control over their members who were left out free to rom during parliament session. It is the basic responsibility of the members, irrespective whether they sleep in their chairs during Sessions in the House or having lavish lunch and pass their time, but their vote is unfortunately necessary as they are respectfully elected with a hope by people of India to pass bills !!! They must realise their responsibility shouldered on them and made physically present during sessions to save the party for the next election. While they get allowances to attend the House, there should be a penalty for Not Attending the Sessions , then they will learn... Mera Bharat Mahaan (due to such politicians)!!!!
    Reply
    1. R
      Raha
      Aug 2, 2017 at 1:23 am
      They got 1st and last opportunity in parliament to enjoy let them do so and make public fool
      Reply
    2. S
      SANKARANARAYANAN
      Aug 1, 2017 at 6:19 pm
      In fat Lalu's family is the power hungry one. When Lalu was disqualified he made his WIFE as chief Minister, even though she hardly can sign !!! At the age of 27 years his son was made Deputy PM and another son as Minister, daughter also inserted in Politics to share power. The all jointly made huge amount of properties illegally by all possible ways and means. Now they are CBI and ED's special guests, once all proved the whole family will be in Jail for their rest of their LIFE, they have done that amount of crime. They have no right to blame Nitish Kumar. Shame on them..What Tajeswi knows about politics ??? He is a professional .....
      Reply
      1. R
        Raha
        Aug 2, 2017 at 1:24 am
        Who is not power hungry. See with ur open eye then comment
        Reply
      2. V
        Vish
        Aug 1, 2017 at 4:14 pm
        Claiming lack of memory is a usual defence of criminals, since opening up will give them away. Such people deserve 'Afghan' treatment.
        Reply
        1. M
          Madhukar Nikam
          Aug 1, 2017 at 3:46 pm
          squeeze them they will sing
          Reply
          1. B
            Binay
            Aug 1, 2017 at 2:11 pm
            Such bureaucrats who cannot recall events like this should be fined. If they are getting pension, then it should be suspended. Such type collusion exists among politicians, bureaucrats should be broken.
            Reply
            1. M
              mahendra vihtlani
              Aug 1, 2017 at 1:58 pm
              Lalu chor , dont understand our law system,he should be in jail.
              Reply
              1. k
                k.madhukar
                Aug 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm
                A solid kick in their a will refresh their memory. Apparently they have been paid to feign amnesia.
                Reply
                1. C
                  Chandu Shah
                  Aug 1, 2017 at 12:42 pm
                  All of them should be sacked as it looks like they were involved in the scam
                  Reply
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