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31 Jan, 2023
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IRCTC Scam: CBI To Start Trial In IRCTC Hotels Scam Case Where Bihar’s Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav Is Accused

As a major setback to the newly formed government in Bihar, the CBI is looking to initiate the trial of a long pending IRCTC scam case. In that case, the Deputy Chief Minister of the newly formed Bihar cabinet, Tejashwi Yadav, was accused of tweaking the terms of hotel tenders of IRCTC to favour some private players.

In addition to Tejashwi Yadav, the CBI has accused former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Rabri Devi, and 11 others in its registered charge sheet. 

According to sources, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wants the trial to be expedited in the IRCTC hotels scam case because the trial has been pending for a long time before a special CBI court. 

What Was IRCTC Scam Case?

In 2017, the CBI registered a case against former Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi, present deputy Chief minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav, and others over alleged irregularities in the allotment of hotel tenders through the influence of IRCTC officials. The CBI, in its charge sheet, clearly mentioned that the accused had tweaked the terms of IRCTC tender to make ill-gotten gains.

Following the registration of the case, the agency took one year time to file its charge sheet against the accused in April 2018.

However, in the mid of the investigation, the CBI halted the hearing of arguments as one of the accused, Vinod Kumar Asthana, approached the Delhi High Court to halt the trial. Due to Asthana’s petition, the CBI halted the trial and, in March 2020, submitted a status report in response to his petition.  

Reason For The Halt Of IRCTC Scam Case

In February 2019, a co-accused in the IRCTC scam case, Vinod Kumar Asthana, filed a petition before the Delhi High Court. In his petition, Asthana alleged that the CBI failed to seek his prosecution’s sanction while framing charges against him. 

(For the reader’s understanding, prosecution sanction is a written consent asked from those who serve in public welfare offices.)

The co-accused challenged the cognizance of the charge sheet produced before the special CBI court (in July 2018) by citing his employment in the government office at the time of the commitment of the said offence. 

Taking note of the petition, the Delhi High Court exempted the co-accused, Vinod Kumar Asthana, from appearing before the trial court. Similar to Asthana, two other accused followed the same procedure and filed similar applications before the trial court.

Due to the Delhi High Court’s order, the trial came to a virtual halt, as no arguments were made before the court on framing of charges from the time of registration of FIR in the IRCTC scam case.

Recent Advancements

Recently, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) requested the High court to decide on Asthana’s petition and allow the hearing of arguments on the framing of charges. For doing so, the CBI presented a condition before the High court that asks the High court to impose a condition as per which the outcomes of charge framing should depend on the outcome of Asthana’s petition before the court. 

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