The Railways has terminated the services of NHSRCL managing director Satish Agnihotri, who was in charge of the government’s prestigious bullet train project, senior officials said Thursday.
Rajendra Prasad, Director of Projects, National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has been given the post for three months, officials said.
Bullet train corruption
In a significant development, the director of the government’s prestigious bullet train project has been fired amid allegations of corruption. Satish Agnihotri has been sacked as managing director of the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), according to the PTI news agency.
The action came after a court in Lokpal ordered the CBI on June 2, 2022 to determine whether corruption charges have been brought against Agnihotri. It has been claimed that when Agnihotri was CMD of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, he made a quid pro quo agreement with a private company.
According to a report in India Express, the chain of events that culminated in Agnihotri’s dismissal began when Lokpal received a complaint alleging that he and another senior railway official, during their tenure at RVNL, had “abused their official position and siphoned off Rs Rs 1,100 crore in an unauthorized manner to Krishnapatnam Rail Company Limited (KRCL), a private company controlled by Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NECL).
The complaint stated that the contract was awarded when his son worked for the company. The complainant further alleged that after his retirement, Agnihotri joined the private company even before the cooling-off period. This is said to violate government regulations that prohibit retired civil servants from accepting commercial employment before completing one year of retirement without the Center’s approval.
Termination of Satish
Agnihotri has also been accused of accepting a job in a private company within a year of his retirement without the permission of the central government.
The Lokpal court ordered the CBI to “find out if any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988” was committed against Agnihotri and submit the investigation report to the Lokpal office within six months or before December 12, 2022.
“The competent authority has approved the termination of Satish Agnihotri’s post. He has been ordered to be relieved with immediate effect,” said the July 7 letter from the Railway Board, addressed to the NHSRCL company secretary.
NHSRCL is a joint venture between the Government of India and participating states to implement high-speed rail projects.
The officials also alleged that Agnihotri took a job with a private company within a year of his retirement. This was a violation of government regulations that prohibit retired civil servants from accepting commercial employment before completing one year of retirement without Center approval.
Who is Satish Agnihotri?
Batch 1982 Indian Railway Service Officer Agnihotri was asked to lead NHSRCL in July 2021. He was Chairman and CEO of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL). He has more than 20 years of experience in the execution of railway infrastructure megaprojects
Satish Agnihotri (IRSE:1982) (retired), former Chairman and CEO of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, took over as CEO of National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd. on July 1, 2021. He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering (Civil), 1982 and Master of Engineering (Structures), 1984, both from IIT, Roorkee and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013 by IIT, Roorkee.
Agnihotri has more than 20 years of experience in the implementation of railway infrastructure megaprojects. He has served as Chairman and CEO of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a Ministry of Railways ‘A’ CPSE program for almost 9 years. He also served as Chairman of High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (HSRC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of RVNL from its inception in July 2012 to August 2018.
HSRC was the counterpart agency on the Indian side to carry out several high-speed studies that were carried out on a government-to-government basis with China, Spain, etc. and completed feasibility studies for 5 high-speed rail corridors.
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