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Bullet train project chief sacked on corruption charge, CBI to probe case

Satish Agnihotri.

The Government has sacked the managing director of National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), Satish Agnihotri, who was in charge of the country’s prestigious bullet train project, senior officials have confirmed.

The Railway Board issued an order on July 7 terminating the services of Agnihotri with immediate effect, following a Lokpal court order directing the CBI to probe corruption allegations against him. The corruption case relates to Agnihotri’s earlier tenure as CMD of Rail Vikas Nigam.

Agnihotri a 1982 batch officer of the Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE) who was appointed the MD of NHSRCL last year in July. He is an IIT Roorkee graduate and had retired from the Railways in 2018.

Senior officials said the decision to terminate the services of Mr Agnihotri came following a June 2 Lokpal court order directing the CBI to probe charges of a "quid pro quo" deal allegedly struck by the former NHSRCL MD with a private company during his nine-year tenure as CMD of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL).

The Lokpal court has directed the CBI to "ascertain whether any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, is made out" against Mr Agnihotri and to submit the probe report to the Lokpal office within six months or before December 12, 2022.

NHSRCL’s Director Projects, Rajendra Prasad, has been handed over the charge for three months, the officials said.

NHSRCL is a joint venture of the Government of India and participating states for implementing high-speed rail projects.