The ED has issued fresh summons to RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s wife Rabri Devi and his son Tejashwi Yadav in connection with its money laundering probe into the railway hotels allotment corruption case of the UPA-I tenure, official sources said today. They said that while Tejashwi has been summoned for questioning on November 20, his mother Rabri, a former Bihar chief minister, has been called on November 24.
While Tejashwi, a former Bihar deputy chief minister, was grilled last in this case on November 13 for the second time, Rabri had skipped six such Enforcement Directorate summons in the past.
The sources said that the two were required to be questioned at length in the case and hence the fresh dates summoning them was issued. The agency has registered a case against Lalu Prasad, his family members and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In July, the Central Bureau of Investigation had registered a criminal first information report and conducted multiple searches on the properties of Lalu Prasad, who is also a former Bihar chief minister, and others.
The CBI FIR alleged that Lalu Prasad, during his tenure as the railway minister, handed over the maintenance of two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation hotels to a company in 2004 after receiving a 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 had registered a criminal case against his family members and others under the PMLA, based on the CBI FIR. The CBI has 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 the 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’.