Lalu Prasad’s lifetime free rail pass may be withdrawn

June 11th, 2009 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday hinted at the withdrawal of the free lifetime pass issued to her predecessor Lalu Prasad to travel in first class air-conditioned coaches with three companions.
“This kind of misuse must not happen,” Banerjee told reporters here when asked for her comments on the order passed by the Railway Board that extended the largesse to Lalu Prasad.

IANS, which has a copy of the order, had reported about the dole Wednesday.

“Everything need not be spoken,” said Banerjee, when pressed to comment further if her remarks meant that the order was being revoked, or whether necessary instructions had already been conveyed to the board.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had also asked for the withdrawal of the pass, with senior leader Ram Naik, a former minister of state with independent charge of Railways, terming the decision “unethical”.

“I fully agree with what Mr. Naik has said,” said Banerjee, while acknowledging receipt of his letter.

The controversial order issued May 19 also extended the largesse to former ministers of state for railways. In their case, a sole companion and one attendant was entitled to the free tickets.

“This issues with the concurrence of the finance department of ministry of railways,” said the order issued by a joint director in the Railway Board, adding it is also “pleased” to amend the rules.

Naik had also questioned the order on the ground that the decision was taken after the election results were announced May 16.

“It is my firm belief that taking such a decision benefiting himself personally after the results of Lok Sabha election is improper and unethical,” said Naik.

“I request you to review the decision and withdraw the additional facility which has been given. Reviewing decisions taken by former ministers and/or the former government in the last month is the usual administrative exercise,” Naik added.

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