New Delhi: Six sitting and former Rajya Sabha MPs have been booked by CBI in connection with the LTC scam in which travel reimbursement was allegedly claimed by them through purportedly forged bills.
CBI sources said today that three sitting MPs -- D Bandopadhyay of Trinamool Congress, Brajesh Pathak of BSP and Lalhming Liana of Mizo National Front -- have been named along with some travel agents in the cases registered by the agency.
Former Rajya Sabha members JPN Singh (BJP), Mahmood A Madani (Rashtriya Lok Dal) and Renu Pradhan (Biju Janata Dal) were among the other accused.
CBI sources said that searches were carried out at 10 places in Delhi and Odisha at the premises of politicians and some travel agents who have been named in the case.
Sources said that the agency has found some more instances of alleged criminality during scrutiny of documents recovered during the first case registered in this connection on November 1 last.
In the first FIR in the Leave Travel Concession scam, CBI booked JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP Anil Kumar Sahani for allegedly siphoning off around Rs 9.5 lakh by presenting fake air tickets and boarding passes.
Besides the MP, an Air India customer service agent, Rubaina Akhtar, and a Lajpat Nagar-based travel operator, Air Cruise Travels Private Ltd, were also named in the FIR in the scam which saw LTC claims being allegedly forged citing travel on the state-run Air India.
During its analysis of documents, CBI had found prima facie irregularities in the LTC claims with an intention to maximise personal benefit by scuttling the laid-down norms in collusion with travel agents.
The scam came to light after the vigilance department of Air India (AI) was alerted about the arrest of a man at Kolkata airport last year in March with 600 blank boarding passes of the airline in his possession.
Reacting to the naming of his party colleague D Bandopadhyay in the scam, TMC leader Derek O`Brien said in a tweet that, "This is a racket run by corrupt travel agencies... My colleague innocent. But we will cooperate to bust travel agency scam."
In a statement, O`Brien also slammed the NDA government for using CBI against the main Opposition parties with a "motive of political vendetta".
"For years, the Congress government has used the CBI with a political motive. The BJP is following that sickening path.
Professing innocence in the LTC scam, Pradhan said she would meet CBI authorities on Monday.
"I don`t know anything about the LTC scam. I am going to Delhi on Sunday and meet the CBI authorities on Monday," Pradhan told reporters in Bhubaneswar.
Liana denied his involvement in the LTC scam.
Liana said that the allegations against him must be due to some "misunderstanding" of facts.