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As reported by ANI, RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav has been granted bail by the Jharkhand High Court.

[More details will be updated soon.]

Background

As reported by the media, The fodder scam involved the withdrawal of money for supplying non-existent fodder for imaginary livestock. The withdrawals that started during the tenure of Mishra when he was chief minister continued during the tenure of Lalu as chief minister and spanned over a decade.

Over the span of various hearings, it was discovered that in an enormous number of cases, fodder was not bought or conveyed and fake bills created.

Lalu had lost his post as chief minister after he was convicted in one of the court cases relating to the scam.

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and Deepak Gupta and SK Kaul, JJ has refused to grant bail to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam case. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told Lalu Prasad Yadav’s lawyer, senior advocate Kapil Sibal.

“We don’t think we will release you on bail,”

When Sibal, on behalf of the RJD Chief, asked “Why?”, the Court said,

“Why? Because you are a convicted man!”

The CBI had, on 09.04.2019, opposed the bail plea of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is serving jail term in connection with fodder scam cases, saying he is likely to indulge in political activities ahead of Lok Sabha polls. It said that in any case Yadav has been in a hospital ward for over eight months and indulging in political activities.

“During the period in which the petitioner (Lalu Yadav) remained in hospital, he is not only granted a special paying ward with all facilities but he is virtually conducting his political activities from there which would be clear form the list of visitors,”

The agency further said Yadav who claimed to be so unwell that he cannot even remain in jail has now suddenly become physically fit and is seeking bail. It submitted,

“simultaneous raising of pleas for bails on medical grounds and bail to guide the party and to carry out all essential responsibilities as a party president in ensuing Lok Sabha elections are mutually contradictory and manifest that in the garb of bail on medical ground the petitioner in essence wants to pursue his political activities which is impermissible in law,”

The RJD chief, currently lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi, has challenged the January 10 verdict of the Jharkhand High Court dismissing his bail plea.

The three cases in which Prasad has been convicted are related to the over Rs 900-crore fodder scam, which pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of money from the treasuries in the Animal Husbandry department in the early 1990s, when Jharkhand was part of Bihar.

(With inputs from PTI)


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Case BriefsHot Off The PressNewsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Restoring the conspiracy charges against RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in Fodder Scam, the bench of Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy, JJ directed that the trial in the matter be concluded within 9 months. The Court explained that 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. 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.

Earlier, the Jharkhan High Court had dropped the charges against the RJD Chief on the ground that he cannot be tried twice for the offence. In 2013, a trial court had imposed 5 years sentence upon Lalu Prasad Yadav in a different case relating to fodder scam. The CBI, however, argued that both the cases are different as both relate to different amount of embezzlement during different period of time. Terming the order of the High Court to be flawed, the Court said that it is difficult to say that prosecution would be bound by the finding in a previous trial on a similar issue of fact. It was held that n what manner the duty has been carried on for different periods would be the question of fact in each case and there is no question of double jeopardy in such a case. The Court further said that the impugned orders are palpably illegal, faulty and contrary to the basic principles of law and Judge has ignored large number of binding decisions of this Court while giving impermissible benefit to the accused persons and delayed the case for several years.

Concerned with the conduct of the CBI in such important matters, the Court said that lethargy on CBI’s part is intolerable as CBI is expected of it to be more vigilant. If CBI fails to act timely, peoples’ faith will be shaken in its effectiveness. The Court said that in important cases Director, CBI should devise methodology which should not be cumbersome as reflected in these cases. Being the head of the institution it was the responsibility of the Director, CBI to ensure that appeals were filed within limitation. There should not have been delay in filing special leave petitions at all.

The Court had ordered CBI to investigate the large-scale defalcation of public funds, fraudulent transactions and fabrication of accounts in Animal Husbandry Department of State of Bihar in State of Bihar v. Ranchi Zila Samta Party, (1996) 3 SCC 682. The allegations of corruption relate to embezzlement of around Rs. 94 Lakhs during the regime of Lalu Prasad Yadav by procuring large amount of fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment for fictitious livestock. In the scam that lasted for several years, total 64 cases had been registered relating to Bihar Fodder Scam. 52 cases involved withdrawal of huge sums of money from Government treasuries falling within Jharkhand State and in 36 out of 52 cases charge-sheet had been filed by CBI before the appointed day. [State of Jharkhand v. Lalu Prasad, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 551, decided on 08.05.2017]