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Judge under HC scanner
Let off too easily?

Patna, April 2: Former CBI special judge Muni Lal, who had acquitted Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi in the disproportionate assets case, has landed in trouble with Patna High Court directing the Bihar government to withhold the payment of full pension to him.

The high court’s acting Chief Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad’s order against Lal follows a “prima facie proof” of judicial impropriety on the part of the former CBI special judge on two occasions.

“The high court has started departmental proceedings against Muni Lal following charges that appears to be tru prima facie,” states the court’s registrar general, who wrote to the state government, asking the latter to withhold the judge’s full pension till the final verdict on the case is obtained.

The advocate general of the Patna High Court, P.K. Sahi, while confirming the order said: “The government has no way out, other than abide by the order.”

The high court has found Lal allegedly involved in “judicial impropriety” in two cases.

In one of the cases, Lal granted bail to an accused who allegedly raped a Danapur-based minor in a Gaya hotel in 2006 — despite the victim’s verdict and medical proof establishing the sexual abuse.

The accused had picked up the girl from Danapur and had taken her to a Gaya hotel where the police had caught him “physically assaulting” the girl.

In another case in which the acting Chief Justice found Lal “prima facie” guilty involves bail to a criminal Bimal Rai in the case for which Rai had demanded Rs 5 lakh as extortion from businessman Jitendra Kuimar of Patna.

“The Chief Justice has found that Rai did not deserve bail at that stage, especially given the strong police diary against him that depicted his history,” Shahi added.

Muni Lal had acquitted the railway minister and his wife, Rabri Devi, in a case in which the CBI had accused Lalu Prasad of acquiring property over Rs 40 lakh, disproportionate to his known income and his wife abetting her husband’s “unfair” earning.

The high court has admitted the Bihar government’s petition against the acquittal of the high-profile couple.

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