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Plea to spare convicted Lalu

Ranchi, July 15: Lawyers of former Bihar chief minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad today petitioned before a CBI court of A.K. Rai to drop charges against him in another fodder scam case of cash withdrawal from a treasury, arguing he had been convicted for a similar offence last year.

Lalu’s lawyers Chitranjan Prasad Sinha and Prabhat Kumar, pleading the animal husbandry case RC 38A/96 related to removal of Rs 3.13 crore from Dumka treasury, argued their client was convicted on September 30, 2013, in RC 20A/96 that dealt with Rs 37.70 crore taken out of Chaibasa treasury.

The lawyers contended before court that prosecuting a once-convicted Lalu again on RC 38A/96 case (Dumka treasury) was tantamount to a violation of section 300 of CrPc.

Lalu was absent from court today but his lawyers appeared to follow his own argument yesterday. Lalu, in a four-hour statement in his defence in the Deoghar treasury embezzlement case yesterday, said when he was already convicted in one case, he was being needlessly dragged in others. He colourfully called this an instance of “butchering the same hen nine times”.

Lawyer Sinha today said this was a case of “double jeopardy”.

“Lalu Prasad has already been convicted in RC 20A/96 fodder scam and similar charges have been levelled against him in Dumka treasury case. This is illegal. He can’t be prosecuted twice for a similar offence. In Dumka treasury case too, the same witnesses, documents and evidence were produced. We will file a similar petition for RC 68A/96 (which pertains to yet another Chaibasa treasury case),” said Sinha.

Lalu’s lawyers also explained provisions of section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and sub-section (1) of Section 220 that say a person once convicted or acquitted cannot be tried for the same offence.

In response, the CBI court directed the CBI counsel Rakesh Kumar to file a reply in RC 38A/96 (Dumka treasury) case by Friday.

The CBI court had rejected granting Lalu relief in the RC 64A/96 case related to Deoghar treasury.

Conviction in one Chaibasa case apart, there are four fodder scam cases of as many treasuries pending against Lalu at the local CBI court in Ranchi. They are RC64A/96 (Deoghar) RC 38A/96 (Dumka), RC47A/96 (Doranda) and RC 68A/96 (Chaibasa). Multiple cases were filed related to withdrawals of lump sums from Chaibasa treasury.

Lalu left for Patna by an evening flight.