M A I N   N E W S

CBI to probe sleeper scam

Patna, September 8
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today asked the CBI to probe the Rs 200 crore sleeper purchase scam with “full speed and honesty” to bring the culprits to justice without much delay.

“The scam has been unearthed following reports of the standing committee on railway which has asked for an independent inquiry and the CBI is already in possession of vital documents,” Mr Prasad told reporters here.

He said the investigating agency should speed up the pace of the inquiry and bring the culprits to book at the earliest.

He, however, parried a specific question as to whether his predecessor, Mr Nitish Kumar, was involved in the racket but said “Nitish ji ya koi ho (whether it is Nitish ji or anybody else), the CBI should act without bias and take its investigation to a logical conclusion.”

Mr Prasad said the Auditor-General of India in its report had also highlighted gross irregularities in the purchase of sleepers. The Railway Minister said the scam related to swindling public money during the NDA regime at the Centre.

Replying to another question, Mr Prasad denied that the case was being probed out of any vendetta.

The “CBI being the central premier investigating agency, has seized some vital documents relating to the irregularities committed in the purchase of the sleepers and it is not I who ordered the inquiry”.

“I am confident that the CBI will be able to bring the truth to light and help judiciary in punishing all those who are involved in it,” Mr Prasad said.

Mr Prasad did not rule out the possibility of a conspiracy between some bigwigs and the swindlers in connection with the irregularities in the purchase. Let the CBI do the job first, he added. Meanwhile, former Railway Minister Nitish Kumar today welcomed the CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in sleeper purchase during his tenure and said his bete noire, Mr Lalu Prasad, would get nothing against him.

“I have no objection to the CBI calling for papers related to purchase of sleeper on the basis of report of standing committee on railway. I am sure the truth will come out before the world,” Mr Kumar told reporters. — PTI

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