Tejashwi Yadav, son of RJD leader Lalu Prasad, today skipped his scheduled appearance before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the its money laundering probe in the railway hotels allotment corruption case, officials said. The former Bihar deputy chief minister has now been summoned to appear on October 31, they said.
The agency had registered a case against Lalu Prasad, his family members and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) sometime back.
Tejashwi’s mother and former Bihar chief minister Rabri has been asked by the ED to appear before it on October 27 for questioning in the case.
Tejashwi was once grilled by the ED for over nine hours in connection with the case. Rabri Devi has skipped the ED summonses at least four times.
In July, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered an FIR and conducted multiple searches on the properties of Lalu Prasad, who is also a former Bihar chief minister, and others.
The CBI FIR has alleged that Lalu Prasad during his tenure as the railway minister handed over the maintenance of two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) 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 also recently 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 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’.