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HC wants fodder cases hastened

Ranchi, Jan. 14: Jharkhand High Court today directed CBI special courts here to expedite trial of cases on the multi-crore animal husbandry scam, ordering them to not grant adjournments.

The court took note of case number RC 64 A/96 (Pat) which involves RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav. The bench said the investigating officer was being examined since March 2012 and the procedure had not been concluded.

A division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Tatia and Justice Jaya Roy, that was hearing a case filed for monitoring the fodder scam cases, said: “The examination of the investigating officer is continuing for close to one year and has still not been concluded, which is astonishing,” the court said.

Today, CBI DIG S.K. Bhagat filed a status report of cases in the special courts, informing the bench that only 10 cases were pending for disposal. The report said of the 10 pending cases, seven were fixed for prosecution evidence and one fixed for defence evidence.

The remaining two cases were in the final argument stage, CBI counsel Mokhtar Khan said.

The status report pertains to the past 30 days, from November 21, 2012 to January 8, this year.

In another case, RC 47A/96(Pat), Khan informed the court that 328 witnesses had been examined on behalf of the prosecution and another 368 witnesses remained to be examined. The documents which were exhibited were bulky and scanned copies had been compiled and supplied to the accused.

The petition, seeking immediate disposal of the fodder scam cases pending in the CBI courts, had been filed by Rajiv Ranjan Singh in 2001 in Ranchi. The petitioner pointed out that the cases were running for more than a decade and disposal was very slow.

The matter had also reached the Supreme Court which seeing the gravity of the situation directed the high court to constitute a special bench for monitoring the fodder scam cases. The monitoring bench is headed by the chief justice of the high court.