New Delhi, Oct 17: The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred hearing on pleas filed by CBI seeking cancellation of bail granted to RJD President Lalu Prasad in connection with multi-crore fodder scam.
A bench of Justices A.S. Bopanna and M.M. Sundresh decided to take up the plea for hearing on a non-miscellaneous day in the last week of January 2024.
Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, appearing for the central probe agency, urged that the question of law involved in the case requires determination by the apex court.
In the special leave petition filed before the Supreme Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has contended that the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief was granted bail by the Jharkhand High Court on an erroneous assumption of law.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, defending Lalu Prasad, said that CBI wants to put the RJD leader back in jail in view of the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls. He raised questions on CBI for delay in filing the appeal before the Supreme Court.
In August this year, Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud had directed urgent listing of the matter after the central probe agency sought an early hearing on plea seeking cancellation of Lalu Prasad’s bail.
Notably, days other than Monday and Friday are classified as non-miscellaneous days in the Supreme Court, when regular hearing is undertaken by different benches.
In April last year, the Jharkhand High Court granted bail to Lalu Prasad in connection with a fifth fodder scam case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 139.5 crore from the Doranda treasury.
Notably, the Supreme Court had already issued notice on the CBI’s plea challenging the bail orders issued on April 17, 2021 and October 9, 2020, where the Jharkhand High Court had granted bail to the former Bihar Chief Minister in the case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of funds from Dumka Treasury and Chaibasa Treasury.
The multi million fodder scam took place in the Animal Husbandry Department in undivided Bihar when Lalu Prasad was the Chief Minister. The scam surfaced in 1996, and at the Patna High Court's directive, the case was handed over to the CBI.
Lalu Prasad was convicted in four fodder scam cases in connection with fraudulent withdrawal of money from Deoghar, Dumka, and Chaibasa treasuries in Jharkhand. In the Doranda case, the special CBI court had awarded him a five-year jail term and imposed Rs 60 lakh fine.