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The Railways has sacked National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) Managing Director Satish Agnihotri who was in charge of the government’s prestigious bullet train project. Officials said Rajendra Prasad, Director, Projects, NHSRCL has been given the charge for three months. Senior railway officials said that there are several charges against Agnihotri, including abuse of official position and giving money to a private company in an unauthorized manner. He said the decision to terminate Agnihotri’s services came after the order of the Lokpal court dated June 2, in which the CBI was handed over to the CBI by the former MD of NHSRCL during his nine-year tenure as CMD of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL). It was directed to investigate allegations of a deal with a private company.
Lokpal court asked – is there a case of corruption?
The Lokpal court has directed the CBI to submit the inquiry report against Agnihotri to the Lokpal office within six months or before December 12, 2022, to ascertain whether an offense under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is made out. The competent authority has approved the abolition of the post of Satish Agnihotri. He has been directed to relieve him with immediate effect. NHSRCL is a joint venture between the Government of India and the participating states to implement high-speed rail projects.
Agnihotri got a job in a private company within a year of retirement
The officials also alleged that Agnihotri took up a job in a private firm within a year of his retirement. This was in violation of government rules that bar retired officers from accepting professional employment before one year of retirement without the approval of the Centre. Sources close to Agnihotri said the senior bureaucrat has denied all the allegations and said that he did not endorse any particular company nor did his son work in any such firm. Officials said Agnihotri had also said that he had written to the DoPT seeking waiving off the one-year cooling-off period before joining the firm. When contacted, Agnihotri refused to comment on the matter.
Batchmate complained after getting the job of NHSRCL chief
Officials said the complaint against him was made by one of his batchmates after he secured the coveted job of chief of NHSRCL, the implementing agency of the government’s ambitious bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Agnihotri, a 1982 batch IRSE officer, had joined NHSRCL in July 2021. Prior to this he was the Chairman and Managing Director of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL). He has more than 20 years of experience in the implementation of Mega Rail Infrastructure Projects. He also held the position of Chairman, High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (HSRC), a wholly owned subsidiary of RVNL, from July 2012 to August 2018. HSRC is the agency of the Indian side created to carry out various high-speed studies, which worked on a government-to-government basis in collaboration with China and Spain.