Fodder scam: HC grants bail to Lalu
RJD chief and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is convicted in the Rs 970-crore fodder scam cases, was granted bail by Jharkhand High Court on Friday but the septuagenarian will not walk out of prison as yet.
The court of Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh while hearing Lalu’s bail petition through videoconferencing allowed him bail in connection with a scam pertaining to the Chaibasa treasury. The scam in Chaibasa treasury involved misappropriation of Rs 33.67 crore towards purchase of fodder and medicines for cattle. However, Lalu will continue to serve jail term in relation to the Dumka treasury, in which he was awarded a 14-year jail term by a CBI court.
In the Chaibasa case, he was sentenced to five years in jail while in the Deoghar treasury case, he got 3.5 years of imprisonment but had procured bail in 2013. He was convicted in a total of six cases related to the fodder scam involving misappropriation of public funds in various treasuries in undivided Bihar.
Lalu’s counsel Kapil Sibal, the former Union minister and veteran Supreme Court advocate, during the hearing on Friday pleaded before the court that his client had already spent 30 months in custody, which is half the total sentence, and requested for bail citing his health. The court allowed the bail asking Lalu to deposit a fine of Rs 2 lakh and two sureties of Rs 50,000 each.
Lalu, who is in custody since January 2018, is currently undergoing treatment for various age-related ailments at Ranchi’s Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS). Currently, he has been shifted to Kelly’s Bungalow, the RIMS director’s residence, over concerns of infection in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. He was also made to undergo Covid-19 testing at least twice in the recent months after his helpers and security guards tested positive.
Ahead of the upcoming Bihar elections, the three-time chief minister will be away from the political action on the ground but is learnt to be calling the shots and taking key decisions going by the number of ticket seekers rushing to Ranchi from Bihar ever since the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the polls. Recently, Jharkhand chief minister and JMM’s working president Hemant Soren too met Lalu at RIMS over a seat-sharing deal between the parties for the Bihar polls, which ultimately failed.