Ranchi, JAN 04 :
The Jharkhand High Court on Friday reserved judgement on the bail petition of RJD president Lalu Prasad in the multi-crore fodder scam cases.
After hearing arguments of the petitioner’s lawyer as well that of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh reserved his order. Earlier, on December 21 last, the bench had deferred the hearing on Prasad’s bail plea for January 4. The RJD chief is languishing in Ranchi jail since December 2017 after conviction in the multi-crore fodder scam cases.
Noted lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, representing Prasad, cited his bad health and also his need for distributing election symbol to candidates in the capacity of being RJD president while seeking bail.
CBI’s counsel Rajeev Kumar said Prasad should not be given regular bail and referred to denial of bail to him previously in the case related to Deogarh treasury.
He further said that Prasad is also being treated in custody and hence bail should not be given to him.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal is an important component of the ‘mahagathbandhan’ of opposition parties in Bihar and Prasad’s approval on seat-sharing holds significance.
Prasad has also been playing a role in bringing anti-BJP parties on one platform in Jharkhand too in the coming general elections.
Recently, leaders like Sharad Yadav, RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha, Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay and Prasad’s son and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav met him in Ranchi jail reportedly as part of the seat-sharing exercise.
On December 11, Prasad had filed petition in the high court requesting bail in three fodder scam cases in which he has been convicted, citing old age and poor health.
In his petition, Prasad said he was now 71 and suffering from diabetes, blood pressure and other ailments and that he had already obtained bail in one of the fodder scam cases.
Prasad has been convicted in the fodder scam cases pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of money from Deoghar, Dumka and two Chaibasa treasuries.
He got bail in one of the two Chaibasa-treasury related cases.
He is currently facing a fifth case pertaining to Doranda treasury.
The RJD chief, who was jailed in December 2017, has been undergoing treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi.
The over Rs 900 crore fodder scam cases are related to fraudulent withdrawal of money from treasuries in the Animal Husbandry department in early 90s when Bihar and Jharkhand were one and Prasad the chief minister of the state.