Fodder scam: SC dismisses bail plea of Lalu Yadav

Fodder scam: SC dismisses bail plea of Lalu Yadav

 The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the bail plea moved by RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who has been convicted and sentenced to varying jail terms in four cases of the fodder scam.

"We don't think we will release you on bail. The Special Leave Petition is dismissed," a bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Lalu, contended, "my appeal is not being heard, why should I be not released, what is the danger if I am released."

"Bail is the norm in all these cases," he said.

"We will expedite your appeal. You are convicted in four cases, you are roughly sentenced to 25 years in jail. These are the issues whether your sentences will run concurrently or consecutively, the HC will decide," the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, said.

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The CBI has earlier in its affidavit vehemently opposed the bail plea, saying Lalu abused his position as chief minister of Bihar and masterminded the Rs 950 Cr fodder scam in early 1990s.

After the Jharkhand High Court on January 10 rejected his petition for bail sought on grounds of ill health as well as a chance to lead his party in general elections 2019, the petitioner moved the highest court of the country to seek relief on the medical ground. This was “contradictory” and “in essence” was to pursue his political activities, which is impermissible in law, it said.

Describing him as a “kingpin”, the CBI said the petitioner has been convicted in four cases and the total sentence is 27.5 years. He, as of now, has undergone only 20 months.

In response to Lalu's bail plea before the top court, the investigating agency said the high court has already advised for continued medical management and monitoring of his conditions. “At present, the convict petitioner is being treated in the private cottage at RIMS, Ranchi and best of medical services is being provided to him,” it said.

“During substantial part of his sentence, he remained in hospital on the ground that he is so unwell that not just medical treatment but hospitalisation was necessary. However, suddenly when Parliamentary elections become near, the petitioner clearly took a somersault and sought bail on the ground that he wanted to lead his political party, which was recorded and rejected by the high court,” the agency added in its 39-page reply.

Lalu continued to face two trials which among others related to misappropriation of public funds involving Rs 139.45 crores. Both the cases are at stage of prosecution evidence, “a very crucial stage, which a powerful accused can influence the trial by using various methods”.

Contending that Lalu not only got involved in corrupt practice but also protracted the trial for as long as 18 years by exercising his political clout and influence, the CBI said if he was granted bail though he had not even served 15% of the sentence, then it will shake the public confidence in criminal justice dispensation system.

In all 64 fodder scam Cases investigated by the CBI, charge sheets were filed in 60 cases only and remaining four cases were closed. Of these 60 cases, 53 cases were tried at Ranchi out of which 51 cases have resulted in conviction, it said.