THE JHARKHAND High Court on Friday rejected the bail petition of former Bihar chief minister and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad in connection with a fodder scam case.
Lalu has gone in appeal against his conviction by a special CBI court in a fodder scam case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of funds from Deoghar treasury to the tune of Rs 89.27 lakh between 1991 and 1994. He and 16 others were convicted on December 23 by special CBI court of Shivpal Singh in Ranchi. At least six other accused, including another former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra, were acquitted in the case.
On January 6 this year, Lalu was sentenced to three-and-a-half-year rigorous imprisonment. Read more
A single judge cench of Justice Aparesh Singh pronounced the order after hearing both sides. Assistant Solicitor General of India, Rajiv Sinha, representing the CBI, said: “The bail petition was heard by the court. We opposed the bail plea on various grounds. After hearing both sides, the court rejected it. The exact reasons behind the same will become clear after we go through the detailed order.”
Prabhat Kumar, counsel for Yadav, said senior advocate Surendra Kumar argued before the court on behalf of his client. “We had not sought bail on health grounds. Our contention was that the client was not involved in the alleged crime. We argued that he was the one who detected it; got cases registered and initiated investigations,” said Kumar.
He said the court was of the view that Lalu has not undergone at least one-half of the awarded sentence in the case and, therefore, it was not a fit case for bail. “We are waiting for detailed order before proceeding further,” he said.
He said almost all the other accused had filed bail petitions and they were supposed to be taken up. “However, a few were taken up and the court sought certain clarifications. These applications would be taken up at a later date,” said Kumar.
Lalu has also filed another bail plea in connection with another fodder scam case in which he was convicted and sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment. The case pertained to fraudulent withdrawal from the treasury of Chaibasa district to the tune of Rs 37 crore between 1992 and 1993. Former chief minister Mishra was also convicted in the case.
Kumar said that Lalu’s bail plea, lying before the same bench, has not been taken up as yet.
Lalu is currently lodged in Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi and the hearings in remaining two fodder scam cases before special CBI courts are continuing almost on a daily basis. In May last year, the Supreme Court, while hearing a petition related to fodder scam case had directed the lower courts to complete the trial within nine months.