The lawmaker, Anil Sawhney, is one of nine being investigated by the agency for allegedly claiming reimbursement for their quota of free tickets based on fake travel documents, in what has now come to be known as the LTC (Leave Travel Concession) scam.
It is for the first time ever that the CBI has conducted raids at the Rajya Sabha secretariat. Rajya Sabha officials have, however, denied it.
All MPs get 34 free air tickets a year for domestic flights, paid for by taxpayers. These are meant to be used by the politicians to visit their constituencies and other areas on work.
In the FIR filed against the Mr Sawhney, the CBI has alleged that he produced fake boarding passes for purported flights to Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, to claim Rs. 1.35 lakh in reimbursment. The CBI has raided the MP’s homes in Delhi and in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur.
CBI sources say it also is investigating the role of officials of national carrier Air India in issuing fake tickets and boarding passes not just to politicians, but also government officials, airline staff and travel agents. It has booked an Air India official and some tour operators too.
The alleged scam surfaced in March when Air India was alerted about the arrest of a man at Kolkata airport with 600 blank boarding passes of the airline.
Later, Parliament conducted an internal inquiry and asked Air India to check the claims of seven members who had furnished business class return tickets for Delhi- Port Blair flights, one of the longest and most expensive domestic journeys from the capital by air.
The allegations caused a huge uproar during the monsoon session at a time when politicians are facing unprecedented public scrutiny over corruption.
The Central Vigilance Commission first investigated the allegations before referring the case to the CBI.