News

Lalu Prasad to face trial in fodder-scam related cases: Apex Court

Krishnadas Rajagopal New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on May 08, 2017
File Photo of RJD leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav

File Photo of RJD leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav   -  PTI

The court ordered the CBI to conclude the trial in nine months.

In a big blow to RJD leader Lalu Prasad, the Supreme Court on Monday held that he and other accused persons, including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra, will be tried separately for corruption in a criminal case involving the withdrawal of money and falsification of records from Deoghar treasury in connection with the Rs. 900 fodder scam.

The Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra set aside the High Court decision of 2014 to stop criminal proceedings against Mr. Prasad on the ground that the veteran leader cannot be found guilty of the same offences twice under Section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The court ordered the CBI to conclude the trial in nine months

Prasad was, at the time of the High Court decision in November 2014, already sentenced to a five-year rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case connected to the fodder scam involving the withdrawal of over Rs. 37 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury during the period of 1994-95 on the basis of 78 fake allotment letters.

The sentence had immediately led to his disqualification from Parliament and barred him from elections for 11 years.

The case at hand deals with falsification of records and the withdrawal of Rs. 84.53 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury during the period 1991-94.

The High Court had quashed charges of criminal breach of trust by public servant, cheating, various counts of forgery, fraud, falsification of accounts and offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the ground that the allegations in this case and the earlier Chaibasa Treasury one were the same.

Countering this, the CBI, which moved the SC, had argued that the High Court acted in error as the charges in the two cases pertain to two different periods, the money withdrawals were made from different Treasuries, the financial losses caused are substantially different and the parties and suppliers are different. “The question of prosecution of the respondent (Mr. Prasad) in this case, ie, R.C. Case No. 64A/1996, being hit by Section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, does not arise,” the CBI had contended.

Six other politicians and four IAS officers were also sentenced to prison terms for fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 37.7 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury when Mr. Prasad was heading the RJD government in undivided Bihar in the early 1990s.

Prasad was convicted in Chaibasa case in October 2013, he however received bail from the Supreme Court in December the same year.

The case againat the accused persons was that they entered into a criminal conspiracy by which they brought into existence fake allotment letters worth more than Rs. 5 crores in a dishonest and fraudulent manner. On the basis of these allotment letters, the accused fabricated 17 fake sub-allotment letters worth Rs. 97 lakhs in favour of District Animal Husbandry Officer (D.A.H.O.), Deoghar, inspite of genuine allotment of lessor sum of Rs. 4,73,000.

The amount covered under the fake allotment letters were utilised for making payment to co-conspirator accused suppliers against fake supply bills raised by them for the purported supply.

The further allegation is that these criminal activities of the officials and suppliers of A.H.D. had got patronage and protection of bureaucrats and politicians, including then Chief Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav and then Leader of the Opposition of the State Assembly, Dr. Jagannath Mishra, who were providing their protection and patronage in different ways including by hushing up enquiries in relation to fraudulent activities as well as by obstructing and preventing any effective enquiry in the matter of fraudulent withdrawal resulting in suppression of outburst of scam.

The prosecution's further case was that these bureaucrats and politicians were getting a share in illegal money withdrawn from the treasuries in lieu of the role played by them in the conspiracy as well as part of money illegally withdrawn from the treasury.

The ill-gotten wealth was spent on arranging hospitality to the bureaucrats and politicians and their family members in various ways including illegal gratification. The bureaucrats and politicians have close nexus with other accused persons and they had come to rescue them whenever such occasion had arisen.

The accused were booked under Sections 120B, 418, 420, 467, 468, 471, 477, 201 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 13(2) read with Sections 13(l)(d) & (c) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

(This article was first published in www.thehindu.com)

Published on May 08, 2017
null
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor