IRCTC scam: Lalu to appear before court via video conferencing on Dec 20, court directs CBI to make arrangements

New Delhi: Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Monday adjourned the 2013 Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) alleged scam case and ordered former Bihar chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad to appear before it on December 20 via video conferencing.

Lalu Prasad, who is currently serving jail term in fodder scam case, has been admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, under police custody for treatment of diabetes and other ailments.

On October 6, the court had ordered Prasad to appear before it via video conferencing on November 19. However, the video conferencing could not take place since there was no such facility in the hospital. In today’s hearing the court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to make all arrangements for the video conferencing in the next hearing.

The court had granted regular bail to Lalu’s wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi Yadav and others who were present at the case hearing on October 6. The CBI had opposed the regular bail pleading that it would ‘hamper the case investigation’.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed its reply in the court and opposed a regular bail plea filed by Rabri, Tejashwi and others. The ED case is in connection with alleged money laundering linked to the IRCTC scam. All accused in the case are currently on interim bail except Lalu.

Earlier, taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the ED, the court had directed all the accused to personally appear before it. The charge sheet had names of former Bihar minister Prem Chand Gupta, his wife Sarala Gupta and an additional member of the railway board, BK Agarwal, along with the Yadav family.

On August 31, the court had granted interim bail to Rabri, Tejashwi and others in the case related to the CBI case.

The RJD chief’s bail was pending as he could not appear before the court on account of health-related issues.

Lalu, who headed the Railway Ministry from 2004 to 2009, is facing charges of misusing his position in the allotment of a contract to a private company for the maintenance of two IRCTC hotels located at Puri and Ranchi.

The prosecution report had also stated that the two hotels of the Indian Railways were first transferred to IRCTC and was sub-leased to the Sujata Hotel Pvt. Ltd owned by Vijay and Vinay Kochhar for maintenance.