25 Aug 2023 3:24 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday posted the appeal of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging the bail granted to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in a fodder scam case to October 17.The Court turned down the request made on behalf of the CBI for an earlier date in September.The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) contended that...
The Supreme Court on Friday posted the appeal of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging the bail granted to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in a fodder scam case to October 17.
The Court turned down the request made on behalf of the CBI for an earlier date in September.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) contended that the sentences imposed on Yadav should run consecutively and not concurrently, while opposing the bail granted to Yadav by the Jharkhand High Court.
A bench of Justice AS Bopanna and Justice MM Sundresh was hearing a batch of pleas against the orders granting bail to the former legislator. Right at the outset today, it said that these would have to be heard on a 'non-miscellaneous day'.
During the brief courtroom exchange before the hearing was adjourned, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Yadav, argued that the septuagenarian could not be asked to 'go back to jail'. "He has just had a kidney transplant! He is 75 years old. And now, they want him to go to jail again. At this age, even after having served 42 months."
Additional Solicitor General, SV Raju countered, "He is playing badminton!"
The law officer further argued that the orders granting bail was bad inasmuch as it had considered the sentences in various cases in which Yadav was convicted to run concurrently and not consecutively -
"Bail after conviction! I will demonstrate that these orders are bad in toto. There's a short question of law: bail has been granted on an erroneous assumption considering that sentences are concurrent and not consecutive."
"He is saying seven years and seven years, so 14 years before he is heard," Sibal retorted, "This is what their question of law is."
"This is the law, and this is what has been interpreted by this court," Raju shot back, before adding that Section 427 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was clear.
"Alright, we will hear it," Justice Bopanna. In a lighter vein, the judge added, "As one lawyer said the other day, either we will hear before G20, or adjourn the hearing till after G20. This will be after the G20 summit."
The fodder scam matter consists of 55 cases relating to withdrawals amounting to around ₹950 crore from the state treasury. The withdrawals occurred between between 1992 and 1995, when Yadav served as the Chief Minister of Bihar and was also in charge of the departments of animal husbandry and finance. During this time, officials of the state animal husbandry department have been accused of withdrawing money against fake bills of fodder, medicine and so on. Yadav has been accused in 6 cases related to the scam and has been held guilty in five.
On 17.04.2021, the Jharkhand High Court granted bail in the case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crores from Dumka Treasury on the ground that he has served half of his prison term. He was convicted in the fodder scam cases pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of money from Deoghar, Dumka and Chaibasa treasuries in Jharkhand. In 2019 he was granted bail in the Deoghar treasury matter. He was also granted bail in the Chaibasa Treasury matter, on 09.10.2020, by the Jharkhand High Court on the ground that he had undergone half of the sentence imposed on him.
The RJD chief has also been convicted and sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of Rs. 60 lakhs by a Special Court in Ranchi, for a fifth fodder scam case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 139.35 crores from Doranda Treasury in February this year. In April this year, the Jharkhand High Court granted him bail in respect to the 5th case.
Case Title: State of Jharkhand V. Lalu Prasad @ Lalu Prasad Yadav, SLP (Crl) 1550/2020