The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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VIP wife ticketless
Rupi Soren

Ranchi, Sept. 19: Hours after railway minister Lalu Prasad finished lecturing on, among other things, the virtues of honesty at IIM Ahmedabad, the wife of cabinet colleague Shibu Soren was fined for travelling without valid passes on the railways’ showpiece Rajdhani Express.

Rupi Soren, daughter Anjali and an attendant were penalised at Kanpur last night because two of them were travelling without valid tickets in an AC I coach of the New Delhi-Howrah train.

The same day, K.N. Yadav, an Uttar Pradesh MP, was fined at Kanpur for taking along five passengers without valid tickets in an AC I coach.

Soren’s family was travelling to Dhanbad from where the women were to go to Bokaro. Railways’ spokesperson R.K. Shrivastava said Rs 14,260 was charged from the trio, travelling on berths reserved for Union coal minister Soren, his wife, one S. Marandi and his wife. Anjali, 40, and the attendant, therefore, were illegal occupants.

Shrivastava said the three initially refused to pay the fine, but paid the excess fare when police were called to evict them.

An MP’s spouse is allowed to travel twice to Delhi when Parliament is in session. Rupi was spared since the House was recently adjourned, but double the normal fare was charged as penalty from the other two, he said. When an MP is not travelling, other occupants boarding a train on his pass are considered ticketless travellers.

Rupi was not available for comment, but younger son Hemant claimed the railway officials had taken the action for “cheap popularity”. He said the officials had demanded a bribe and when it was refused, imposed the fine.

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