A three-judge bench of Supreme Court headed by CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde on Friday issued notice to Lalu Prasad Yadav, seeking a response from the jailed RJD chief on the appeal filed by the CBI which had moved the Apex Court challenging the bail granted to him by Jharkhand High Court.
After Lalu Prasad Yadav completed half of his jail term in connection with the Deoghar treasury scam case, the Jharkhand High Court had recently granted him bail in one of the cases in which he's been convicted. Yadav was serving a prison sentence after being convicted in multi-crore fodder scam cases. The RJD supremo was sentenced in 2018 to seven years imprisonment under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and seven years under the Prevention of Corruption Act in the fodder scam case. He was also slapped with a fine of Rs 60 lakh in the case.
The case pertains to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.5 crore from the Dumka treasury by Animal Husbandry Department officials between 1991 and 1996 when Yadav the undivided state's Chief Minister. On December 3 last year, Yadav was re-elected unopposed as the president of the RJD.
In April 2019, the Supreme Court had dismissed his bail plea. A bench presided over by the then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said: "We do not think we will release you on bail." The CBI had vehemently opposed the bail plea of Lalu calling him a "kingpin", adding that he abused his position as Bihar CM.
The investigating agency alleged that Yadav has already been indulging in political activities for over eight months when he was admitted to a hospital citing health issues. “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 from the list of visitors,” the CBI said.
The RJD chief, lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi, had challenged the January 10 verdict of the Jharkhand High Court dismissing his bail plea. The three cases in which Lalu 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 agency inputs)