A Delhi court on Monday asked the CBI and the ED to provide documents to the accused including former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, his son Tejahswi and wife Rabri Devi in IRCTC scam cases on February 14 and 25 respectively.
Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj fixed February 14 as the date for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to provide the documents to the accused, while the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will have to submit them for scrutiny on February 25 at 2 pm.
"On the request of learned senior public prosecutor for CBI, list for supply of deficient documents if any, now on February 14. Since the next date of hearing is only for supply of deficient documents, the personal appearance of the accused is exempted on the request of learned defence counsel for the next date of hearing," the court said in its order.
While passing an order on the furnishing of documents by the ED, the court said, "List on February 25 at 2 pm for scrutiny of documents. Since the next date is for supply of deficient documents, on the request of learned counsels for the accused, all the accused are exempted from their personal appearance in the court on the said date".
An advocate appearing for an accused argued that there are documents which are mentioned in the charge sheet but have not been provided by the agencies.
However, the agencies in said that since these documents were not relied upon while framing of charges, furnishing them to the accused was not necessary.
The cases relate to alleged money laundering in grant of operational contract of two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) hotels to a private firm. Both the CBI and the ED had registered cases against Yadav and others including then group general managers of the corporation V K Asthana and R K Goyal.
According to the CBI charge sheet, between 2004 and 2014 a conspiracy was hatched in which BNR hotels of the Indian Railways, located in Puri and Ranchi, were first transferred to IRCTC and given on lease to Patna-based Sujata Hotels Pvt Ltd for operations, maintenance and upkeep.
Among others Vijay Kochhar, Vinay Kochhar, both directors of Sujata Hotels and owners of Chanakya Hotel, are named in the charge sheet.
According to an FIR flied by CBI, Yadav, the then railway minister, entered into criminal conspiracy with the owner of Sujata Hotels, Sarla Gupta, wife of his close associate Prem Chand Gupta, a Rashtriya Janata Dal MP in Rajya Sabha, and IRCTC officials for "undue pecuniary advantage to himself and others".
The probe agency also alleged that BNR hotels were transferred to Sujata Hotels through a "rigged and manipulated" tender process managed by P K Goyal, the then managing director of IRCTC.
The CBI inquiry shows that the railways sought bids for developing, operating and maintaining Rail Ratna Hotels on September 16, 2006.
Yadav became Bihar's chief minister in 1990, but had to resign in 1997 following corruption charges in the multi-crore rupees fodder scam. From 1997 to 2005 his wife Rabri ruled as the chief minister of the state and was replaced by JD(U) president Nitish Kumar.
The RJD again came back to power after forging an alliance with its bitter rival Janata Dal (United), led by Kumar in 2015, and Tejashwi Yadav became the deputy chief minister. However, Kumar parted ways from the RJD in July last year.
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