SC agrees to change trial judge in fodder scam

SC agrees to change trial judge in fodder scam

The Supreme Court on Tuesday indicated that it can change the special CBI court judge who conducted trial in the fodder scam on a plea made by former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad provided there was consensus on it.

A bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the counsel representing different parties to suggest a name unanimously for the purpose to help it pass the order or the court would direct the high court to do it.

The CBI, which was issued notice by the apex court on July 9 to put forth its stand on the petition filed by Lalu, alleging bias against special CBI judge P K Singh since he was relative of Bihar Education Minister and JD(U) leader, P K Shahi, sought further time.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on August 6. Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Lalu, contended that the trial judge fixed the date for pronouncement of verdict on July 15 in the case even though the arguments were being advanced. 

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, representing Rajiv Ranjan, pointed out the same judge has been hearing the case since 2011 and the RJD chief did not raise objection in 275 days of hearing that took place since then.

 He further said that it would consume a lot of time if the matter was transferred to some other court as there were total 45 accused in the case.The bench, however, was of the view that it would be better to change the judge in view of allegation levelled against him.
Lalu wanted the case involving embezzlement of Rs 35 crore to be transferred from Ranchi court to some other court.

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