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Former bureaucrat Baijal booked in hotel disinvestment case

Posted on Aug 29 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 28 : The CBI Thursday filed a case against former disinvestment secretary Pradip Baijal for selling a Rajasthan hotel, under the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), on lesser value, causing an estimated loss of Rs.143.48 crore to the government.

Baijal, a former Indian Administrative Service officer, has been named in the first information report (FIR) along with private firm Lazard India's then managing director Ashish Guha, Kanti Karamsey and Company owner Kantilal Karamsey Vikamsey, and the authorised representative of Bharat Hotel which owns Hotel Lalit.

The agency has also mentioned unnamed government officers and private people in the FIR registered on charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating besides under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

"It was alleged that five-star Laxmi Vilas Palace ITDC, having 54 rooms with all accessories, spread on 29 acres of prime property in Udaipur in Rajasthan was first drastically undervalued and then sold to New Delhi-based Bharat Hotels at an undervalued price of Rs.7.52 crore in 2001-2002," said a CBI official.

"However, as per then DLC rates, the estimated cost of Laxmi Vilas Palace's land was Rs.151 crore. And, in this way, the government caused to the loss of Rs.143.48 crore," the official added.

The agency, after registration of the case, conducted searches at four places in New Delhi and Mumbai.

"Incriminating documents related to the case have been recovered," said the official.

The Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had in its meeting held on Feb 5, 2002 approved disinvestment of three hotel properties of ITDC - Qutab Hotel and Lodhi Hotel in New Delhi and Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel in Udaipur.

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