Satish Agnihorti removed from bullet train project

Bullet Train

Bullet Train (Representative image: iStock)

The Indian Railways, on Thursday, dismissed Satish Agnihotri as the managing director of the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), the government’s prestigious bullet train project. The order issued by the Railway Board said that director of projects of NHSRCL, Rajendra Prasad, was handed over the charge for three months.

Officials in the board said that Agnihotri was facing allegations, including that of misuse of official position and diverting funds in an unauthorised manner to a private company.

The government decided to terminate Agnihotri’s services following a June 2 Lokpal court order. The government directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to inquire into the charges of a “quid pro quo” deal allegedly struck by Agnihotri with a private company during his nine-year tenure as CMD of the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), sources in the railways said.


The Lokpal court also directed the CBI to “ascertain whether any offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, is made out” against Agnihotri and to submit the investigation report to the Lokpal office within six months or before December 12, 2002

“The competent authority has approved the termination of office of Satish Agnihotri. He has been directed to be relieved with immediate effect,” read the July 7 letter of the Railway Board, addressed to the company secretary of the NHSRCL.

Agnihotri, when contacted, refused to speak on the matter. Even the Railways refused to officially comment on the reason for the officer’s termination. A 1982-batch Indian Railway Service of Engineers officer, Agnihotri joined the NHSRCL in July 2021. Previously, he was the chairman and managing director of RVNL.

The NHSRCL is a joint venture company of the Government of India and participating states for implementing high-speed rail projects, which are also called bullet trains. Ahmedabad-Mumbai is the first bullet project being implemented by the NHSRCL, at an estimated cost of Rs 1.1 trillion.