NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday unearthed a major scam relating to the supply of packaged drinking water “Rail Neer” within the railways, and recovered Rs 20 crore cash from suppliers who were benefitting by looting the passengers.
The agency, after registering a case against two senior officials of Northern Railway and seven private companies, raided 13 places in Delhi and Noida in connection with the alleged corruption. The case has been lodged against former chief commercial managers (PS and Catering) of Northern Railway M S Chalia and Sandeep Silas.
Sandeep Silas had earlier served as private secretary to a former Union minister.
The companies booked by CBI are RK Associates Pvt Ltd, Satyam Caterers Pvt Ltd, Ambuj Hotel and Real Estate, PK Associates Pvt Ltd, Sunsine Pvt Ltd, Brandavan Food Product and Food World under Prevention of Corruption Act.
CBI officials said that Rs 20 crore were recovered from the residence of Shyam Bihari Agrawal, his sons Abhishek Agrawal and Rahul Agarwal, who own RK Associates and Brandavan Food Product World.
Officials said that in collusion with the railway officials, passengers and railways were being cheated by private caterers to make huge profit margins in the supply of packaged drinking water bottles.
CBI alleged that the railway officials had favored these private firms in supplying the cheap packaged drinking water other than the mandatory “Rail Neer” in premium trains, including Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express.
CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh said that it was further alleged that the railway board had passed an order stating that IRCTC shall provide Rail Neer at Rs 10.50 (approx) per bottle to the private caterers and the private caterers will be paid Rs 15 (approx) per bottle for supplying the same to passengers in premium trains.
However, the private suppliers in order to obtain undue gains, were allegedly supplying cheap packaged water, other than “Rail Neer”, available in the market at Rs 6/Rs 7 (approx) per bottle, thereby causing loss to the exchequer, the official said.
The accused public servants allegedly did not take any action against the private parties providing catering services in the premium trains despite repeated requests by IRCTC for not picking the allotted quota of “Rail Neer” by the private caterers,” she said
CBI said that the directions of railway board to ensure supply of “Rail Neer” in premium trains were ignored by the involved officials causing heavy loss to IRCTC.