Supreme Court upholds CBI plea: Fodder ghosts back to haunt Lalu Prasad Yadav

Supreme Court restores criminal conspiracy charge, orders fresh trial in cases; 9-month deadline

Written by ANANTHAKRISHNAN G | New Delhi | Updated: May 9, 2017 8:23 am
Lalu prasad, lalu prasad fodder scam, fodder scam, bihar, supreme court fodder scam Lalu Yadav was one of the first chief ministers to be associated with the fodder scam. (File)

In a setback for RJD chief Lalu Prasad, the Supreme Court on Monday restored the conspiracy charges against him in cases related to the fodder scam. It also ruled that he would stand fresh trial in other cases linked to the alleged embezzlement of over Rs 900 crore in the scam when he was chief minister of Bihar.

Lalu has already been convicted in one case linked to the scam but the Jharkhand High Court had quashed conspiracy charges against him and other accused — former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra and ex-bureaucrat Sajal Chakraborthy — in related cases on the ground that the offences listed arose from the same conspiracy.

While delivering its ruling, the High Court had applied Article 20(2) of the Constitution, which says that no person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.

Also Read: What is the fodder scam: A look at what all has happened since 1996

On Monday, allowing the CBI’s appeal against the High Court ruling, an apex court division bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy said that although there was “one general conspiracy”, the “offences are distinct for different periods”.

“No doubt about it that the general conspiracy had been hatched as alleged for the period 1988 to 1996 but defalcations (misappropriation of funds) are from different treasuries for different financial years by exceeding the amount of each year which was allocated for the Animal Husbandry Department for each of the district…” the bench said.

“The amount involved is different, fake vouchers, fake allotment letters, fake supply orders had been prepared with the help of different sets of accused persons. Though there is one general conspiracy, offences are distinct for different periods,” it said.

“The Constitution bars double punishment for the same offence. The conviction for such offence does not bar for subsequent trial and conviction for another offence and it does not matter even if some ingredients of these two offences are common…,” the bench said.

“Each defalcation would constitute an independent offence. Thus, by no stretch, it can be held to be in violation of Article 20(2) of the Constitution or Section 300 of CrPC. Separate trials in such cases is the very intendment of law. There is no room to raise such a grievance…,” the bench said.

“The modus operandi being the same would not make it a single offence when the offences are separate. Commission of offence pursuant to a conspiracy has to be punished. If conspiracy is furthered into several distinct offences, there have to be separate trials,” it said.

“There may be a situation where in furtherance of general conspiracy, offences take place in various parts of India and several persons are killed at different times. Each trial has to be separately held and the accused to be punished separately for the offence committed in furtherance of conspiracy. In case there is only one trial for such conspiracy for separate offences, it would enable the accused person to go scotfree and commit number of offences which is not the intendment of law,” the bench said.

The apex court also expressed its disappointment over the Jharkhand High Court delivering a “contradictory” judgment in the matter of another accused R K Rana in the case. The bench wondered how the High Court, which had quashed proceedings against Lalu, Mishra and Chakraborthy on the ground that they had been convicted in one of the fodder scam cases refused to apply the same rule to Rana’s case.

“The court ought to have been careful while dealing with such matters and consistency is the hallmark of the court due to which people have faith in the system and it is not open to the court to take a different view in the same matter with reference to different accused persons in the same facts and same case,” the bench said.

“Such inconsistent decision-making ought to have been avoided at all costs so as to ensure credibility of the system. The impugned orders are palpably illegal, faulty and contrary to the basic principles of law… Interference had been made at the advanced stage of the case which was wholly unwarranted and uncalled for. Let now amends be made by expediting the trial without any further hindrance from any quarter,” it said.

The scam refers to 55 cases of alleged large-scale embezzlement of government treasury funds given to non-existent companies for purchase and supply of cattle fodder in Bihar in the 1990s. Lalu was chief minister of Bihar from 1990-1997. In October 2013, he was sentenced to five years in jail and a fine of Rs 25 lakh for his role in one case related to the scam by a CBI court.

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  1. K
    May 9, 2017 at 7:10 pm
    there is no supreme court it is a brahmin court.
    1. S
      Sankaran Krishnan
      May 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm
      Good job done by the Supreme Court and hope his Political career ended that will haunt him and his family for their life time and he deserves this. For supporting him and for the scams and loots involved the allies who are all supporting him has to be taken into task and he might have bought them to support him that includes the so called Communists who had become an second fiddle to the RJD nd if it is probed the truth will come out in the Open ??? Now a BIG query is will Nitish Kumar supports the Scam Looter Lallu and be an ally with him and his party ???
      1. R
        Raman Govindan
        May 9, 2017 at 12:13 pm
        it is useful to keep the corruption cases alive or not closing for the governments at the center and states. it is always happens that a party wins and next time loses and again wins. the presence of a corruption case comes to then handy for election and mud throwing purposes. it looks like corruption cases god sent tools for temb!
        1. K
          May 9, 2017 at 10:46 am
          s: www.dawn /news/1331464/how-sita-lost-her-faith-and-her-family
          1. S
            Satyanaryana Murty
            May 9, 2017 at 1:08 am
            There was an inter actionwith the Comptroller an d Auditor Genaral of India New lhi on this issue in 1996 Out of rs 300crores of allotment in the Budget 600 rores were spent by withdrawing from various treasuries Later on it had gone upto Rs 900 crores For name sake some offers were suspended During the LaluPrasad was in jail his wife was made as Chief minister and the entire Administratation was manaed by Lalu Prsad Now Modi is punishing so many eople having old Rs500 notes and Rs 1000 old notes Can he make out any case for the black money he had
            1. A
              May 9, 2017 at 12:36 am
              Nothing will happen to the fodder monster Lallu and he will enjoy freebees till he eternally retires dian legal system is most pathetic and is just a paper tiger with out teeth.Lallu will continue to rule thru proxy and mafias like Shahabuddhin and Modi who claims of 56'' will fool the nation with his empty slogans till next election. Three yrs is more than enought o take decisive actions against corrupt politicians, officials but every election rally , Modi will show his 56'' and poor Aam Admi will believe him. Who cares for his demonetisation or GST or removal of beacon light as long as common man is not bene ed in terms of price reduction,corruption free and tension free life. Modiji you cheated the Aam Admi with empty slogan .If you have the guts arrest criminals like Lallu, P Cheatambaram, Kanimozhi,Raja , bring back Lalit modi and V Mallya .
              1. M
                madhusudan Bangalore
                May 9, 2017 at 12:28 am
                This is mockery of Indian judicial system which is working according to wishes of powerful, wealthy, corrupt and fraud politicians. The public is fade up with such drama staged by govt , investigating agency i.e CBI and judiciary when such grievous and ultra sensitive case worth thousand of crores are made joke. SC is responsible for abnormal delay by granting bail to Laloo which is reason for fi separate pe ions by accused Laloo to delay other cases so that he can complete his lifespan and judgement will be pronounced after his demise as evident in Jayalalithaa's case. The money is playing major role and havoc on decision of courts. So Supreme Court and lower courts must not grant bail to convicted accused in such high profile cases in future when future of crores of people are jeopardized by these dreaded and corrupt politicians by looting thousand of crores in span of 15 years. This is most shocking and astonishing that govt, courts and investigating agencies are favoring.
                1. G
                  Gulabchand Shah
                  May 8, 2017 at 11:57 pm
                  Convicted Lalu should be in jail.
                  1. R
                    Raman Raman
                    May 9, 2017 at 1:54 am
                    Agree with your comments
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