SC reserves verdict in Lalu DA case

SC reserves verdict in Lalu DA case

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan reserved its verdict after the hearing of the arguments on the issue for the entire day from the advocates representing Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi, the CBI and the state government.

The CBI had filed a case against the couple allegedly involved in the acquisition and accumulation of wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income.

Special CBI judge in Patna had on December 18, 2006, acquitted the duo in the case that had charged Lalu with amassing assets worth Rs 46 lakh beyond his legal income when he was Bihar Chief Minister between 1990 and 1997. Rabri Devi was made a co-accused in the case. The state government had appealed against the lower court verdict before the Patna High Court after the CBI, which had probed the DA case, decided not to challenge the acquittal. Appearing for the Bihar government, senior advocate L Nageshwar Rao said the state has the full right to challenge the acquittal as it was the state’s exchequer which had been defrauded by the illegal and corrupt acts of omission and commission by the Lalu couple.

Rao argued that merely because the state government handed over the case to the CBI, it did not forfeit its right to challenge their acquittal. Senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani appearing for Lalu and his wife said the case was investigated by the CBI and the prosecuting agency decided not to challenge the lower court verdict.

The state government has no role to play in a case probed and prosecuted by the CBI, he said.

As per Section 378 (2) of the CrPC, the CBI or the central government was the sole authority to probe the case and file an appeal before the High Court, said Jethmalani.

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