Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad on Sunday defended his record as Railway Minister as the White Paper presented in Parliament by incumbent Mamata Banerjee indicated faulty accounting procedures.

“How can investment to the tune of Rs. 57,000 crore be made if there was no surplus,” asked Mr. Prasad, adding that “all the accounting procedures were transparent as they were carried out under the supervision of the Union Finance Minister and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).”

“The White Paper shows that a dividend of over Rs. 20,700 crore was paid to the government, which proves beyond doubt that the Railways had a cash surplus during my tenure,” said Mr. Prasad. Mr. Prasad said the “financial performance had shown a record improvement chiefly because the rate of growth in traffic earnings were significantly more than the operating expenses.”

“This is further evident by comparing the operating expenses and traffic earnings during 1991-2001 and 2001-08,” he said. The operating ratio of 75.9 % was the best in the last 35 years.

Mr. Prasad said the cumulative cash surplus of Rs. 88,669 crore was reworked at Rs. 62,363 crore after proper adjustments.

“The figure was reworked because an amount Rs. 9,300 crore was deducted as arrears of the 6th pay Commission, while interest in fund balances amounting to Rs. 4,138 crore, principal component of lease charges of Rs. 6,778 crore and losses on strategic lines valued at Rs, 1283 crore were deducted from the amount of Rs. 88,669 crore,” he said.