Fodder scam: Blow to Lalu Yadav as SC accepts CBI's plea to revive conspiracy charges against him
In a major jolt to former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Supreme Court today accepted a plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to revive conspiracy charges against the RJD supremo in the infamous fodder scam. The charges were dropped by the Jharkhand High Court in 2014.
Hearing CBI's plea challenging dropping of charges against Lalu in one of the fodder scam cases, the top court also ordered separate trial against him and others accused in four different cases related to the Rs 1000-crore fodder scam.
Along with Lalu, Jagannath Mishra and ex-top bureaucrat Sajal Chakraborty will also face trial in the case. The SC has also directed the trial court to complete the trial within nine months.
Criticizing Jharkhand HC for dropping conspiracy charge against Lalu Yadav in Deoghar treasury case, the top court said, "The HC gave relief to Lalu Prasad ignoring settled principle of law".
The court also lashed out at the CBI for delay in filing appeal against dropping of charge against Lalu Prasad.
The top court said that the CBI director should have looked into this important matter and deputed an officer to pursue the case.
The apex court had on April 20 reserved its judgement in the case and asked all parties concerned to give their submissions within a week.
The court also heard the plea filed by RJD supremo challenging his jail sentence in connection with the mid-1990s fodder scam case.
The Jharkhand High Court had in 2014 dropped the conspiracy charge against Lalu Prasad in one of the fodder scam cases against which the CBI had appealed before the top court.
The probe agency then filed its latest appeal against the High Court order that upheld the agency's plea to continue proceedings in the trial court against Prasad under two sections, but dropped other charges on grounds that a person could not be tried twice for the same offence.
The High Court had ordered that proceedings against Yadav be continued under IPC Sections 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of an offence committed or giving false information) and 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment, and in such attempt doing any act towards the commission of the offence).
The fodder scam relates to fraudulent withdrawal of around Rs. 1,000 crore by the Animal Husbandry department from various districts when Lalu was the Bihar chief minister from 1990 to 1997.