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Fake travel bills case: CBI questions TMC MP D Bandopadhyay

PTI | Last Updated: Monday, June 16, 2014 - 23:14

New Delhi: CBI on Monday questioned Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member D Bandopadhyay in connection with alleged inflated travel reimbursement claimed by him through purportedly fake bills.

CBI sources said the MP was questioned in the afternoon for nearly 90 minutes.
Bandopadhyay later said he was satisfied with the way he was questioned and described CBI as the "civilised bureau of investigation".

"They were very cordial and did not trouble me at all. They asked various questions for nearly one and a half hour. But I cannot reveal details. I must say agency is civilised bureau of investigation," he told reporters.

CBI has alleged that Bandopadhyay had presented four tickets worth Rs 1.28 lakh whereas actual payment of Rs 2,000 was made to Air India thus making a gain for Rs 1.26 lakh for himself on the inflated bills.

Trying to distance himself from the scam, the MP said the fraud could have been perpetrated by the travel agents who booked tickets on his behalf.

The agency has registered cases against three sitting MPs --Bandopadhyay, Brajesh Pathak of BSP and Lalhming Liana of Mizo National Front and three former Rajya Sabha members JPN Singh (BJP), Mahmood A Madani (Rashtriya Lok Dal) and Renu Pradhan (Biju Janata Dal) in connection with the case.

The agency claimed to have detected some more instances of alleged criminality during scrutiny of documents recovered during the first case registered in this connection on November 1 last year.

After registering the case, CBI spokesperson had said that the MPs had allgedly claimed full payment on companion air tickets from Rajya Sabha Secretariat using fake e-tickets.

The sources said MPs booked their tickets under an Air India promotional scheme where full fare economy class ticket passengers were entitled to have one ticket for their companion on nominal rates but submitted e-tickets of full fare for claiming reimbursement.

The sources said the case triggered from the interrogation of JD(U) MP Anil Kumar Sahani against whom a case was registered by CBI in November last for allegedly presenting fake bills to claim the reimbursement.

They said Sahani had claimed that the practice was purportedly rampant among parliamentarians then why was he being singled out for the alleged offences.

In the first FIR in the Leave Travel Concession scam, CBI booked 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 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.

First Published: Monday, June 16, 2014 - 23:14

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