Rail Neer effect: All 16 Railway zones under CBI scanner

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has widened its probe into the biggest railway scam — Rail Neer, now, by starting to investigate all 16 zones of the Indian Railways related to the alleged corruption scam in the supply of substandard packaged water in all premium trains.

Sources in the CBI said that the loss to the exchequer could be much higher than what the agency had initially anticipated. The reason being so far only one zone of the Indian Railways has been probed.

“There are 16 Railway zones in India and corruption cannot be ruled out in all these zones too as maximum private catering services were provided by RK Associates through different names at pan-India level,” said a CBI official.

The Rail Neer scam could be just the tip of the iceberg as the mother of all scams is the allotment of all types of catering contracts to Comesum Group, which is the brainchild of RK Associates and Brandavan Food Product owned by Rajiv Mittal and two of his cousins — Rahul Agrawal and Abhishek Agrawal. The CBI on Friday filed its chargesheet against MS Chalia, Sandeep Silas, Rajiv Mittal, Sharan Bihari Agrawal and nine private companies.

However, it is surprising that the Comesum Group, which has been controlling the catering system of all Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duranto trains for well over 10 years, mysteriously did not figure in the agency’s chargesheet. What is even more shocking in the entire probe is that the names of Rahul and Abhishek Agrawal, who happen to be Mittal’s cousins, are nowhere to be found in the agency’s chargesheet.

As per the set procedure, the Railway Board had prescribed that the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) shall provide Rail Neer at the rate of around Rs 10.50 per bottle to private caterers and they would be paid Rs 15 per bottle for supplying the same to passengers in premium trains. 

However, to maximise the profit, the accused companies procured packaged water for Rs 5.70 to Rs 7 per bottle from open market that caused the alleged loss of Rs 19.55 crore  to the exchequer. 
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