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‘Rail Neer’ racket busted; Rs 20 crore seized by CBI

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: Around Rs 20 crore in cash was seized by CBI during drives at 13 locations in Delhi and suburban Noida, Uttar Pradesh in connection with an alleged racket involved with the supply of packaged drinking water in premium trains. The racket allegedly supplied lower grade packaged drinking water other than the mandatory ‘Rail Neer’ in premium trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said, a case has been registered against the then Chief Commercial Manager (Catering) of Northern Railways MS Chalia, and a man named Sandeep Silas.

CBI also booked private companies – RK Associates Pvt Ltd, Satyam Caterers Pvt Ltd, Ambuj Hotel and Real Estate, PK Associates Pvt Ltd, Sunshine Pvt Ltd, Brandavan Food Product and Food World – under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Notably, Silas has served as a private secretary to a former union minister.

Sources revealed that Rs 20 crore was seized from the residence of Shyam Bihari Agrawal and his sons Abhishek Agrawal and Rahul Agarwal, who own RK Associates and Brandavan Food Product.

The officials were accused of extending favours to these private firms in the supply of cheap packaged drinking water other than the mandatory ‘Rail Neer’ in premium trains, including the Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express.

CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh said the Railway Board had prescribed that the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) shall provide ‘Rail Neer’ at Rs10.50 (approx) per bottle to private caterers who would be paid Rs 15 (approx) per bottle for supplying the same to passengers in premium trains.

However, private suppliers, in order to obtain undue gain, were allegedly supplying cheap packaged water, other than ‘Rail Neer’, available in the market at Rs.5.70 to Rs.7 (approx) per bottle, thereby causing monetary gains to themselves and loss to the exchequer, the official said.

“The accused public servants did not take any action against the private parties providing catering services in the premium trains, despite repeated requests from the IRCTC over non-lifting of allotted quota of ‘Rail Neer’ by private caterers,” the spokesperson said.

The CBI said that Railway Board directions to ensure the supply of ‘Rail Neer’ in premium trains were ignored by accused officials, causing undue pecuniary advantage to private parties and corresponding loss to the IRCTC.

“Searches were conducted today (Friday) at 13 places in Delhi and Noida, which led to recovery of cash amount of around Rs 20 crore and a large number of incriminating documents,” the spokesperson added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Indian Railways starts Free Accidental Insurance Cover to Passengers who book their Tickets through Online Mode

Under the scheme a heir of the passenger is entitled to get Rs. 10 lakh in case of death, while the passenger would get Rs. 10 lakh if he is permanently disabled

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Howrah Station in West Bengal, Wikimedia

New Delhi, Dec 11, 2016: The Indian Railways on Saturday started giving free accidental insurance cover to the passengers who booked their tickets through online mode, IRCTC officials said.

“The railways has started giving free accident insurance to such passengers who book their tickets through online mode,” Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) spokesperson Sandip Dutta said.

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“The services were implemented around 2:30 p.m. today (Saturday),” he said.

The IRCTC official also said that the passengers with confirmed or RAC (Reserved Against Cancellation) tickets would be covered under this scheme.

The IRCTC’s action came three days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a free accident insurance cover of Rs. 10 lakh for passengers who buy railway tickets online, in a bid to promote the cashless transaction post demonetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes.

The optional insurance scheme was launched on September 1 by the IRCTC on a pilot basis for one year, which allowed a travelling passenger to get an insurance cover of up to Rs. 10 lakh on booking a train ticket online by paying just 92 paise.

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Under the scheme a heir of the passenger is entitled to get Rs. 10 lakh in case of death, while the passenger would get Rs. 10 lakh if he is permanently disabled.

The passenger would get a compensation of Rs. 7.5 lakh in case of partial disability, while Rs. 2 lakh will be paid for the hospitalisation expense.

The insurance company would also pay Rs. 10,000 for the transportation of the mortal remains.

The facility was also announced in the Railway Budget 2016-17.

According to railway officials, about 14 lakh railway passengers buy railway tickets daily — out of which 58 per cent tickets are bought online.

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Railway Board requests Finance Ministry for Separate Fund to Improve Safety of the Indian Railways

Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said that of the total of Rs 1,11,683 crore will be funded by the Finance Ministry

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Train, Flickr

New Delhi, November 18, 2016: The central government said on Friday that the Ministry of Railways has requested the Finance Ministry for a separate fund for improving safety of the Indian Railways.

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“Ministry of Railways has requested Ministry of Finance to sanction a non-lapsible Rastriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) totalling Rs 1,19,183 crore for safety improvements of Indian Railways,” Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

Gohain added that of the total of Rs 1,11,683 crore will be funded by the Finance Ministry.

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“The safety related works identified are related to track works, bridge rehabilitation, safety works at level crossing, replacement and improvement of signalling system, improvement and upgradation of rolling stock, replacement of electrical assets and human resource development,” he said. (IANS)

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For Cheating, ‘Herbal fuel’ Inventor Ramar Pillai along with 4 others get 3 Years Jail in Chennai

The CBI said the "herbal fuel" was only a mixture of petroleum products which was prohibited and Pillai misrepresented the fact and sold it through various sales outlets

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Motorbike, Youtube

Chennai, October 15, 2016: A local court here has convicted Ramar Pillai, who came into the limelight for developing an “herbal fuel” and four others of cheating and sentenced them to three years rigorous imprisonment for cheating, the CBI said on Friday.

The court also slapped a fine of Rs 6,000 each on all.

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According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Pillai had, in 1999 and 2000, colluded with other persons to illegally mix petroleum products like toluene, naphtha and others and market the product as ‘Ramar Petrol’ or “Ramar Tamildevi Mooligai Eriporul”, claiming that it was an herbal extract that could be used in automobiles as a fuel.

The CBI said the “herbal fuel” was only a mixture of petroleum products which was prohibited and Pillai misrepresented the fact and sold it through various sales outlets.

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Pillai also cheated the outlet owners by collecting huge amount as deposits and fuel costs and in the process, he and his associates gained Rs.2.27 crore by cheating the public, it said.

The verdict and sentencing came on Thursday, said the CBI. (IANS)