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Fodder scam case: SC grants bail to RJD chief Lalu Prasad

New Delhi, Dec 13 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in a fodder scam case, who is behind the bars for the last two months after being awarded a five-year jail term.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam granted bail after noting that several other similarly placed convicts have already been granted bail in the case.

The bench also comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, left it to the trial court to decide the bail bonds, sureties and other conditions to be imposed on the former Member of Parliament.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is the prosecuting agency in the case, did not oppose Lalu Prasad's bail plea.

Pleading for bail, Lalu Prasad, who lost his membership of Parliament after being convicted in the case, submitted that of the 44 persons convicted along with him, 37 have been granted bail and no one's, except his bail plea has been rejected.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the politician, submitted Prasad has already spent 12 months behind bars, including two months of his five-year sentence, and sought bail, saying the Jharkhand High Court before which his appeal is pending will take at least seven to eight years to decide the case.

Lalu Prasad had moved the apex court challenging the order of the Jharkhand High Court which had dismissed his bail plea.        

The RJD chief, another former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and 43 others were on September 30 convicted by a special CBI court in the fodder scam case involving fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa Treasury during the Lalu Prasad-led RJD regime.

The CBI court had pronounced varying prison terms for the convicted persons on October 3.

In his bail petition, the RJD chief had said, “No reason has been given by the court for the rejection of bail. The petitioner has been treated differently in the matter of grant of bail in as much as some of the co-accused, who are similarly situated, have been granted bail.”