Bullet Train Project Chief Satish Agnihotri Sacked Over Corruption Charges Pertaining To Earlier Stint As Rail Vikas Nigam CMD
The Union Government has dismissed Satish Agnihotri, currently the Managing Director of National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), over corruption allegations against him during his earlier stint at helm of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL).
The Union Government has dismissed Satish Agnihotri, currently the Managing Director of National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), over corruption allegations against him pertaining to his earlier stint at helm of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL).
NHSRCL is the implementing agency of the government's ambitious bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
Senior Railway officials said there were several allegations against Agnihotri, including misuse of official position and diverting funds in an unauthorised manner to a private company.
The decision to terminate the services of Agnihotri came following a June 2 Lokpal court order directing the CBI to probe charges of a ''quid pro quo'' deal allegedly struck by the former NHSRCL MD with a private company during his nine-year tenure as CMD of RVNL.
The Lokpal court has directed the CBI to ''ascertain whether any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, is made out'' against Agnihotri and to submit the probe report to the Lokpal office within six months or before December 12, 2022.
''The competent authority has approved the termination of office of Satish Agnihotri. He has been directed to be relieved with immediate effect,'' read the July 7 letter of the Railway Board, addressed to the company secretary of the NHSRCL.
Agnihotri, who retired in 2018, was reappointed as MD of NHSRCL, in July 2021.
According to a report in India Express, the chain of events that culminated in the dismissal of Agnihotri began when Lokpal received a complaint alleging that he and another senior Railway official, during their tenure in RVNL, had “misused their official position and diverted Rs 1,100 crore in an unauthorised manner to Krishnapatnam Rail Company Limited (KRCL), a private company which is controlled by Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NECL).
The complaint stated that contract was awarded when his son was working for the company. The complainant further alleged that post retirement, Agnihotri joined the private company even before the cooling period. This is said to be in violation of government rules which prohibits retired officials from accepting commercial employment before one year of retirement without the Centre's approval.
A 1982-batch Indian Railway Service officer, Agnihotri was asked to helm NHSRCL in July 2021. He was the chairman and managing director of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL). He has over 20 years of experience in the implementation of mega rail infrastructure projects. He also held the position of chairman, High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (HSRC), a fully owned subsidiary of RVNL since its inception in July 2012 till August 2018.
(With inputs from PTI)
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