The Jharkhand High Court on Friday pulled up the authorities for transferring jailed RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav to the director's bungalow of a Ranchi hospital from its paying ward last year without consulting higher authorities. The High Court while hearing the matter on January 8 observed that the government is governed by law and not by an individual.
Yadav, who was convicted in fodder scam cases, was undergoing treatment in the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) for multiple ailments. The former Bihar chief minister was in August 2020 transferred from its paying ward to the director's residence, which was known as Kelly Bungalow - to protect him from exposure to coronavirus. However, he was brought back to the paying ward on November 26, following an allegation that he violated the jail manuals, and called up a Bihar BJP MLA seeking his help in defeating the NDA candidate for Assembly Speaker's post.
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During the hearing of a case on Friday, the bench of Aparesh Kumar Singh said that if the RJD chief ran the risk of being infected by COVID-19, the RIMS management should have first informed the prison authorities. A jail officer would have then decided where to shift Prasad, the bench said. The Bench also asked why the RIMS management was in such a hurry to transfer him to the Kelly Bungalow and added that the RIMS management did not clarify in its affidavit what other options were considered before Lalu Prasad was shifted to the director's bungalow and as to why that bungalow was chosen.
In a report placed before the bench on Friday, the inspector-general of the prison submitted that the hospital transferred Lalu Yadav to the bungalow as a measure to protect him from COVID-19. It said that there is no clear provision in the jail manual on how to provide security to an inmate and what facilities he or she would get if the person is shifted out of a prison for treatment. The government is now making changes to the prison manual and a standard operating procedure (SOP) is being prepared to include such situations, the report said. The bench asked the government to complete the work by January 22.
On October 9, Jharkhand High Court granted bail to former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in a fodder scam case related to fraudulent withdrawals amounting to Rs 33.67 crore from the Chaibasa treasury in undivided Bihar when Lalu Prasad was the Chief Minister. Lalu's counsel had argued for bail pointing out that the RJD chief has completed half of his 14-year sentence in jail Lalu Yadav has been in Birsa Munda Central Jail since 2017 after his conviction in the fodder scam cases and several others. Lalu has already gotten bail in three fodder scam cases, state reports.