Jharkhand HC rejects Lalu’s bail plea

Jharkhand HC rejects Lalu’s bail plea

Former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD Supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav. PTI File Photo

In a major setback to RJD president Lalu Prasad, the Jharkhand High Court on Thursday rejected his bail plea. Lalu is serving jail sentence in Ranchi following his conviction in the fodder scam.

The ruling on his bail petition was given by Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh this afternoon.

A pall of gloom descended on the court campus where hundreds of supporters of RJD president had gathered hoping against hope that their leader would be granted bail.

Earlier, Lalu’s lawyer Kapil Sibal had argued before the bench of Justice A K Singh that when other politicians, including the then Animal Husbandry Minister Vidya Sagar Nishad, had been set free in fodder scam cases, how Lalu alone could be involved in conspiracy and corruption.

The noted Supreme Court lawyer also pointed out that since Lalu was the national president of the RJD, only he was authorised to select candidates for the different parliamentary constituency. “Without his signature, the Election Commission would not allot symbols to the candidates,” contended Sibal.


Jail or bail, Lalu in a win-win situation


Lalu is serving jail sentence since December 23, 2017, after being convicted in fodder scam for fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakhs from Deogarh treasury. He was awarded three and a half years of imprisonment. He was convicted again in January 2018 in the second case for illegal withdrawal of Rs 33.13 crore from Chaibasa treasury. This time, he was awarded a jail sentence of five years.

In the third fodder scam case, Lalu was awarded 14 years of jail term on March 19, 2018. This case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.76 crore from Dumka treasury.

Incidentally, Deoghar, Chaibasa and Dumka are now in Jharkhand but were part of undivided Bihar when the scam took place in the mid-90s. Lalu was then Bihar Chief Minister and was, therefore, found guilty as he also held the portfolio of Finance Minister.

“We had moved for regular bail in the Jharkhand HC as so far none of the CBI witnesses have ever pointed to the direct involvement of Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam,” said Lalu’s lawyer Prabhat Kumar in Ranchi.

Lalu lawyers had also highlighted his poor health condition as one of the grounds for seeking bail. Presently undergoing treatment at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi, Lalu is suffering from multiple ailments. This includes chronic kidney disease, hypertension, perianal abscess and Type-2 diabetes. After undergoing specialised treatment at Asian Heart Hospital in Mumbai this year, Lalu was treated at AIIMS, New Delhi also, before being shifted to RIMS in Ranchi.


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