NEW DELHI: In a big blow to Lalu Prasad Yadav, Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the RJD chief and other accused will face separate trials for each case in the Rs 900 crore fodder scam.
The apex court has set aside the High Court order which had said that the entire conspiracy in the fodder scam was one and hence Lalu cannot be tried separately for each illegal treasury withdrawal.
Along with Lalu, Jagannath Mishra and ex-top bureaucrat Sajal Chakraborty will also face trial in the case. The apex court also ordered that the trial court complete the trial within nine months.
Lalu Prasad has already been convicted by trial court and sentenced to 5 years jail term in Chaibasa treasury withdrawal case.
SC while criticising Jharkhand HC for dropping conspiracy charge against Lalu Prasad in Deoghar treasury case, 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 agency failed to live up to its reputation, the court said.
Earlier on April 20, the apex court had 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 CBI had filed a plea in the apex court against the dropping of a conspiracy charge against Lalu Prasad by the Jharkhand High Court in one of the fodder scam cases.
The probe agency then filed its latest appeal against the High Court order upholding the agency’s plea to continue proceedings in the trial court against Prasad under two sections, while dropping 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 charges are in connection with the case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 96 lakhs during Yadav’s chief ministerial tenure.
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.