Indian Railways
The headquarters of the joint venture will be located at Raipur city or Naya Raipur. Picture: Indian RailwaysReuters

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday reportedly seized Rs 20 crore cash during raids on 13 premises of two former officials of Northern Railways and seven private companies, allegedly involved in supplying fake packaged drinking water in place of Rail Neer in premium trains.

The agency has registered a case against the former chief commercial managers (catering and passenger services) of Northern Railways, MS Chalia and Sandeep Silas, according to reports.

RK Associates Pvt Ltd, Satyam Caterers Pvt Ltd, Ambuj Hotel and Real Estate, PK Associates Pvt Ltd, Sunsine Pvt Ltd, Brandavan Food Product and Food World are the seven private firms booked by the CBI under the Prevention of Corruption Act, PTI reported.

It said that the CBI recovered Rs 20 crore from the residence of Shyam Bihari Agrawal, his sons Abhishek Agrawal and Rahul Agarwal, who run private firms RK Associates and Brandavan Food Product.

The accused have been charged with allegations of showing favour to these private companies to sell "cheap packaged drinking water (PDW) other than mandatory 'Rail Neer' in premium trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express".

The private suppliers were allegedly selling cheaply priced packaged water in place of mandatory Rail Neer, for Rs 5.70 to 7.00 (approx) per bottle, thus making undue gains and bringing losses to the railways, said a CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh.

As per the Railway Board stipulations, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is supposed to provide Rail Neer to private caterers at Rs 10.50 (approx) per bottle and pay them Rs 15 (approx) per bottle for supplying the bottled water to passengers in premium trains.

"The accused public servants allegedly did not take any action against the private parties providing catering services in the premium trains despite repeated requests of IRCTC for non-picking of allotted quota of 'Rail Neer' by Private Caterers," a CBI spokesperson said.

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