A special CBI court has said that one of the grandest palace-hotels in Rajasthan's Udaipur was sold at a huge loss and former Union Minister Arun Shourie should be charged for it and investigation re-launched in the case, a media report said on Thursday.
According to a NDTV report, the special CBI court wants the case to be reopened and has asked for criminal case against Shourie, former bureaucrat Pradeep Baijal and hotelier Jyotsna Suri.
Hotel Laxmi Vilas Palace was valued at over Rs 252 crore but was sold for Rs 7.5 crore to hotelier Lalit Suri, the report quoted the court as saying. At the time of this sale, Shourie was Disinvestment Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
"I have not seen the order, advocates will examine the order and then we will decide what to do next," NDTV quoted Shourie as saying on the special CBI court order. "Advocates will examine the order and then we will decide what to do next."
The grand-palace hotel in question is one of the famous five-stars hotels on the banks of lake Fateh Sagar in Udaipur.
Last year, the CBI had filed a closure report saying there was no evidence in this case and concluded that evidence worth launching prosecution was not found in the entire process of disinvestment of M/s Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel, Udaipur, NDTV reported.
Rejecting the closure report, the special court in Jodhpur has ordered to reopen the case, relaunch the investigation and file charges against Shourie.
According to the report, the disinvestment of the government-run hotel resulted in "wrongful loss of about Rs 143.48 crore to the government and corresponding wrongful gain to the accused persons individually/jointly".
CBI has been blaming Kanti Karamsey, a private firm, for the wrong valuation of the palace-hotel.
"During the course of the investigation, we had reevaluated the property through the Income Tax Department and it was valued at âÂÂÂ¹ 193.28 crore. Undervaluation of the property by Kanti Karamsey and company led to the loss to the exchequer," the report quoted sources as saying.
"The CBI registered a case on August 13, 2014 on the basis of a preliminary inquiry that alleged that Pradeep Baijal had abused his position as Secretary, Disinvestment, in the Laxmi Vilas hotel sale," NDTV reported.