Kolkata : The CBI on Thursday filed a case against former disinvestment secretary Pradip Baijal for selling a Rajasthan hotel, which was grossly undervalued, at a throwaway price, thereby causing a loss of Rs.143.48 crore to the exchequer.

The five-star hotel, Laxmi Vilas Palace, run by the public sector ITDC, had 54 rooms with all accessories and spread on a sprawling 29 acres of prime property in Udaipur.

As per then DLC rates, the estimated cost of Laxmi Vilas Palace’s land was Rs.151 crore. This plush hotel was sold to New Delhi-based Bharat Hotels for a measly amount of Rs.7.52 crore in 2001-2002, said a CBI official.

Baijal, a former IAS officer, has been named in the FIR along with private firm Lazard India’s then managing director Ashish Guha and the authorised representative of Bharat Hotels which owns Hotel Lalit.

The agency has also mentioned unnamed government officers and private people in the FIR registered on charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating besides under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had in its meeting held on February 5, 2002, approved disinvestment of three hotel properties of ITDC — Qutab Hotel and Lodhi Hotel in New Delhi and Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel in Udaipur.

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