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IRCTC Case: RJD Chief skips CBI questioning, seeks 15 days time

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New Delhi, Sep 25: RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Monday skipped the CBI questioning, in case against him and his son Tejashwi Yadav in connection with alleged irregularities in issuing contracts for two IRCTC hotels to a private company.

Lalu Prasad’s advocate, through a letter, informed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday afternoon that his client would not be able to join the investigation in response to the summons issued on September 22 seeking his presence at the CBI headquarters here.

“His advocate submitted a letter to us on behalf of the leader seeking two weeks’ time to appear before the investigators in the IRCTC case,” a CBI official said.

The CBI on September 22 issued fresh summons to Lalu Prasad and his son to appear before the agency on September 25 and 26.

Earlier, the CBI summoned the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and his son, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, on September 7 to report at its headquarters in Lodhi Road area of south Delhi for questioning on September 11 and 12.

The CBI had on July 5 filed a corruption case against Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav for alleged irregularities when Lalu Prasad was the Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009.

The contracts for two Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) hotels at Ranchi and Puri were handed over to Sujata Hotels company owned by Vijay and Vinay Kochhar in lieu of an alleged bribe in the form of a plot of prime land in Bihar, the CBI said.

According to the CBI, Lalu Prasad allegedly granted illegal favours to Sujata Hotels through the IRCTC, and the tender process for the development, maintenance, and operation of the two hotels was manipulated in exchange for the three-acre plot in Patna where a mall is coming up.

The CBI, which registered the case under charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating under the Indian Penal Code and sections of Prevention of the Corruption Act, claimed that the kickbacks were paid through a ‘benami’ company owned by Sarla Gupta, wife of RJD MP Prem Chand Gupta.

The CBI FIR alleged that Vinay Kochhar sold three acres of land in Patna through 10 sale deeds on February 25, 2005, for Rs 1.47 crore to Delight Marketing Company in which Sarla Gupta was a Director.

The FIR alleged that the land was sold at a price below circle and market rates and was falsely shown as agricultural land to evade substantial stamp duty.

During the CBI’s preliminary inquiry, the agency purportedly found that the said land was sold by the Kochhars to Delight Marketing, and payment was arranged through Ahluwalia Contractors and its promoter Bikramjeet Singh Ahluwalia.

The Enforcement Directorate, which is also probing the financial irregularities in the case, have questioned Ahluwalia and also summoned Sujata Hotels owners for questioning.

The ED had, on July 27, registered a separate case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act following the CBI FIR and is probing allegations against Lalu Prasad and others for alleged transaction of money through shell companies.

IANS

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Prime Minister spoke with arrogance, says Chandrababu Naidu

Naidu alleged that the prime minister also spoke alightly’ and acheaply’. “By stating that I took u-turn he launched a political counter attack,”

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Chandrababu Naidu

Amaravati, July 21 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with arrogance during the debate on no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha.

Naidu, whose party had moved the no-confidence motion against the NDA government, said that Modi spoke as if Andhra Pradesh was not part of India.

“His arrogance was because he had the numbers,” said Naidu while terming the no-confidence motion as a fight between majority and morality.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief was talking to reporters after the defeat of the motion in the Parliament.

Naidu alleged that the prime minister also spoke alightly’ and acheaply’. “By stating that I took u-turn he launched a political counter attack,” said Naidu.

On Modi’s comments that he had warned him that he was falling in the trap of YSR Congress, the TDP leader said the Prime Minister was doing injustice to the state for political mileage and resorting to blackmail. “It is unbecoming of a person holding the position of the Prime Minister to say such things,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the Prime Minister’s reply disappointed five crore people of the state and the entire country as they had hoped that he will show some repentance over no fulfilling the promises made to the state and correct his mistakes.

Naidu also took strong exception to Modi’s remark that he was picking up fight with Telangana and recalled that even before bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh he had been calling for an amicable solution through talks.

Stating that Andhra Pradesh has been cheated again, Naidu appealed to people to stage protest demonstrations on Saturday.

He claimed that for the first time a no-confidence motion moved by a regional party received support from several parties. He will be leaving for New Delhi on Saturday to thank the parties which supported the motion. Naidu said he would also tell the nation as to how the state was betrayed.

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Modi mocks at Rahul, says he’s power hungry

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Rahul Modi

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday mocked at Rahul Gandhi for hugging him in the Lok Sabha, saying the Congress President was actually dreaming to be the next Prime Minister and had asked him to get up from his seat in the Lok Sabha.

“In the morning, the voting was not over, the debate was also not over, one member came runnig to me saying – Utho Utho Utho… What is his hurry to come to power,” Modi said, gesturing with hands and recalling how Gandhi came to hug him after his speech.

“Let me tell this member it is the people who elected us. That is how we have come here.”

He said the opposition was enacting a drama and coming together “to remove one Modi”.

“See who all they are trying to bring together. But they should know we are here because we have the blessings of 125 crore Indians. We are not here for selfish interests.”

The Prime Minister said the no confidence motion has exposed how the opposition is hungry for power.

“What we saw among members of the Opposition was sheer arrogance. The only thing they have to say – remove Modi. Today the nation has seen the negativity expressed by some members. They are playing negative politics. India saw how some people are so deeply opposed to development.”

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Not a naamdar, can’t see eye to eye with you: Modi taunts Rahul

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Modi

New Delhi, July 20 : Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that he indeed could not see eye to eye with the Congress leadership as he was not a “naamdar” (from a privileged background) like the Congress chief.

He said that there was long list of people who tried to see eye to eye with the “first family” and were “humiliated” as a result, including former President Pranab Mukherjee.

“He (Rahul) says I cannot see eye to eye with him. Yes, I cannot do so because I am not a naamdar. I come from a poor background, I am not privileged like you,” Modi said while replying to the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition.

“It is widely known what happened to those who tried to see eye to eye with you. What happened to Chadhary Charan Singh, to Chandra Shekhar, Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujaral. What happened to Sharad Pawar and even to Pranab Mukherjee?

“In the past too, those who tried to see eye to eye with you their fate was no different be it Sardar Patel or Subhash Chandra Bose. They were all thrown out, they were humiliated. I cannot see eye to eye with you,” Modi said.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi had said that Modi could not see eye to eye with him (for his alleged failure to fulfil his promises made to the public).

“And it was seen by the people what your eyes said today,” Modi said, blinking his fingers to portray Gandhi’s winking gesture.

At the end of his around 40-minute speech, Gandhi walked across to the treasury benches and hugged Modi who was surprised. Gandhi then returned to his seat amid applause from Congress MPs, and then winked at fellow Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia who was sitting next to him.

Modi said that the Congress was so power hungry that it had pulled the rug off the feet of any non-Congress government whenever any attempt to form such a government was made.

“What did the Congress do with governments of Charan Singh, of Chandra Shekhar and of I.K. Gujral? It pushed the country into phases of instability again and again for greed of power (by pulling out support from coalition governments),” he said.

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