CBI Files FIR Against Former National High Speed Rail Corporation Chief
New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team has filed a corruption complaint against former National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL) Managing Director Satish Agnihotri, who was in charge of the prestigious train project Government of India’s high-speed train, to investigate allegations of quid pro quo in a deal he allegedly entered into with a private company during his nine-year tenure as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd .
In 2021, the Center had appointed Satish Agnihotri as Managing Director of NHSRCL after his retirement. However, the railways terminated its services in July this year following a June 2 Lokpal court order ordering the CBI to open a corruption investigation. The CBI FIR is based on the Lokpal order – the agency approved the complaint filed with the Lokpal with the order.
The FIR was filed on the complaint of a Dilip Potalia alleging misappropriation of government funds to the tune of Rs 1,100 crore by Agnihotri. CBI’s anti-corruption arm charged Agnihotri under IPC Section 120-B (criminal association) and Section 13 (2, 1D and 1C) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Krishnapatnam Rail Co Ltd was also named as an accused in the FIR.
Citing Lokpal’s order, the FIR reads that there are certain aspects of the allegations against Agnihotri that need to be examined in detail. “It was alleged that RPS-1’s son and daughter were employed by private companies that had official dealings with the company in which RPS-1 (Agnihotri) was employed. Whether it was an arrangement or an agreement that could be characterized as a quid pro quo, must be investigated,” the order reads.
“Whether RPS-1 used his influence within RVNL when awarding any of the contacts/work to NECL or any of its sister concerns, whether during his tenure or longer later, must also be studied”, he further indicates.
At the heart of the allegations are Agnihotri’s alleged links to Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NECL), which owns the Krishnapatnam Rail Company Limited (KRCL), a special purpose vehicle, trained to lay railroad lines. railway to the port of Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. . RVNL, led by Agnihotri, was the contractor for the project and also held a minority stake in the company.
The plaintiff in the Lokpal case alleged that Agnihotri, as head of RVNL, embezzled railway funds to the tune of Rs 1,100 crore (which would be equivalent to Rs 1,600 crore with interest) to KRCL years, even when KRCL could not arrange for the funds to be paid. RVNL for the work he has done. Since RVNL was a partner in the company, it was easier for officials to overlook the irregularity.
In accordance with the FIR, there are guidelines from the Ministry of Finance that address the issue of surpluses available with the PSU.