LTC bills scam: CBI examines BSP MP, ex-MP BJD

LTC bills scam: CBI examines BSP MP, ex-MP BJD

As part of its probe into alleged fake travel bills scam, CBI today examined Rajya Sabha MP Brajesh Pathak and former BJD MP Renubala Pradhan in connection with submitting of bills to claim reimbursement from the government coffers.

CBI sources said Pathak was asked in details in connection with the submission of bills worth over Rs 2.20 lakh whereas he paid only Rs 10,000 for his travels by Air India.

When contacted, Pathak said the travel agent in Green Park here had booked ticket for him on the basis of which he travelled.

"The boarding pass and ticket were provided to me by the travel agent and my PA. I just travelled on that," he said.

CBI recently registered cases against three sitting MPs, including Pathak, and three former MPs, including Pradhan, for submitting allegedly fake inflated bills for claiming reimbursement for their air-travels, the sources said.

It is alleged in the FIR against Pradhan that she had presented four bills worth Rs 1.62 lakh whereas Rs 5,600 was actually paid to Air India.

Pradhan could not be reached for her comments on the development. However, soon after registration of the case against her, Pradhan had said "I don't know anything about the LTC scam."
She had also said that she would be meeting CBI officers to clarify her position.
The sources said MPs had 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 at much cheaper rates but submitted e-tickets of full fare for claiming reimbursement.

They said the difference of fare on companion ticket allegedly was a benefit to the concerned MP.

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.

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