The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Laloo takes fight to A-G

Ranchi, Oct. 4: Lawyers for RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, battling the multi-crore fodder scam, today said they would go on the offensive with a petition before the Patna High Court, demanding an in-depth inquiry into the role of the accountant-general in abetting the swindle.

The counsel will also move the Supreme Court on October 21, requesting that all six fodder scam cases, in which Laloo Prasad has been named as the main accused, be clubbed and tried by a single court.

The lawyers’ change of strategy came after former Jharkhand chief secretary V.S. Dubey today told the CBI trial court here that annual accounts of Bihar for the years 1990 to 1995 were submitted to the accountant-general in time.

Dubey said the accountant-general, in his report, had said withdrawals had exceeded the budgets of the various departments though nowhere did he point out that fraudulent withdrawals had been made by the animal husbandry department.

Dubey pointed out that as far as he could remember, the CAG had recommended that in the light of excess withdrawals, the same should be regularised as per the norms laid down by the Bihar Appropriation Act.

Dubey pointed out that no mention of fraudulent withdrawals was made anywhere in the CAG report also.

He said the report on the annual accounts of Bihar for 1994-95 were received only in June 1996 by which time the entire fodder scam had been exposed and the state government had already ordered that FIRs be filed district-wise against all drawing and disbursement officers.

Dubey added that in another case — CWJC 5905 of 1992 — he had already stated that the chief minister had ordered that the department concerned should direct the officers under them to deposit the embezzled amounts within seven days.

Dubey pointed out that on January 25, 1996, then chief minister Laloo Prasad had ordered the setting up of a high-level committee to probe instances of fraudulent withdrawals.

He said the committee was broken up into four sub-committees to probe excess withdrawals made from Ranchi, Chaibasa, Jamshedpur, Gumla and Lohardaga, and to assist the district magistrates concerned.

All the teams had worked to satisfaction, though Dubey said he could not now remember if the FIRs lodged against the fodder scam accused were based on the reports provided by these teams.

Laloo Prasad’s counsel Chittaranjan Prasad Sinha said they would move the apex court for clubbing all six fodder scam cases because the charges were similar, his client was named as the prime accused in all and the witnesses and their statements were similar. Even documents submitted by CBI were also similar, he claimed.

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