A special CBI court has ordered the registration of criminal cases against former Union minister Arun Shourie in an alleged corruption case involving the sale of the grand Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel in Udaipur, reported NDTV.
Besides, cases has been ordered against former bureaucrat Pradeep Baijal, hotelier Jyotsna Suri and others. The order was passed by Special CBI Judge Pooran Kumar Sharma.
The CBI court wants the case, pertaining to the sale of the hotel, previously run by Indian Tourism Development Corporation, to the Bharat Hotels Limited in 2002, reopened. Bharat Hotels Limited now runs the Lalit group of hotels.
The court said the hotel, which was valued at over ₹252 crore, was sold at an undervalued price of ₹7.5 crore and Shourie was then the disinvestment minister. The hotel has been ordered to be handed over to the government.
The order came while the court was hearing a closure report by the CBI last year on the alleged loss to the government by the sale of the hotel, in which the probe agency said there’s no evidence to prosecute the accused.
The court, however, disagreed and ordered further investigation into the case.
“Prima facie, it appears that the then minister Arun Shourie and then secretary Pradeep Baijal misused their offices and caused a loss of Rs 244 crore to the central government in the deal,” Hindustan Times quoted it as saying.
Others accused in the case include Kantilal Karamsey Vikamsey, then head of the private firm Kanti Karamsey & Co, which had done the valuation of the hotel.