Tejashwi Yadav, son of RJD leader Lalu Prasad, was today grilled for over nine hours for the second time by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering probe in the railway hotels allotment corruption case, official sources said. They said the statement of the former Bihar deputy chief minister was recorded by the investigating officer of the case at the ED office after he arrived there around 11 AM. Tejashwi Yadav left the ED office around 8:45 PM. This is the second time Tejashwi was questioned by the central probe agency in this case. Sources said Tejashwi Yadav was asked about three dozen questions in connection with the case. He was last questioned by the agency on October 10 and was grilled for over nine hours. Since then, Tejashwi has skipped four appearances and appeared today on a fresh summon, they said. 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). Tejashwi’s mother and former Bihar chief minister Rabri has skipped the ED summonses at least six times till now.
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 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’.