CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde headed the three-Judge Bench which also included Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant of the Supreme Court which, on Friday, 14 February 2020, issued a notice to Lalu Prasad Yadav, seeking a response from the jailed Rashtriya Janta Dal Chief on an appeal filed by CBI which had moved the Apex Court challenging the bail granted to him by the Jharkhand High Court.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 7th February 2020, Friday, moved the Supreme Court against the Jharkhand High Court's order granting bail to the Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam case.
After completing half of his jail term for his connection with the Deoghar Treasury case, the Former Bihar Chief Minister was granted bail by the Jharkhand HC. In order to challenge the decision, CBI filed an appeal against the order before the Supreme Court.
Looking at the past, in 2018, the RJD Supremo was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment, in which 7 years each were given for convictions as per the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2018. He also had to give Rs. 60 lakhs in order to pay the fine.
Even in April 2019, the Supreme Court had dismissed his bail plea. The then Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi presided over the bench and had said, “We do not think we will release you on bail.” The CBI had vigorously and effectively opposed the bail plea of Lalu by calling him a “Kingpin”, and adding that he has abused his position as the Bihar Chief Minister.
The investigation agency had then alleged that Lalu has already been indulging and participating in Political Activities for over Eight Months when he was admitted to a hospital concerning his health issues. “During the period in which the petitioner (Lalu Yadav) remained in hospital, he is not only granted a special paying ward with all facilities but he is virtually conducting his political activities from there which would be clear from the list of visitors,” the CBI said.
The CBI had said while arguing that granting of bail to him would set “very wrong precedent” in cases involving “serious corruption in high offices”.
Accusing Yadav of undertaking political activities from a hospital in Ranchi, the probe agency had said: “Simultaneous raising of pleas for bail on medical grounds and bail to guide the party and to carry out all essential responsibilities as a party president in ensuing Lok Sabha election are mutually contradictory and manifests that in the garb of bail on medical ground the petitioner in essence wants to pursue his political activities which is impermissible in law.”
The RJD chief, lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi, had challenged the January 10, 2019 verdict of the Jharkhand High Court dismissing his bail plea. The three cases in which Lalu has been convicted are related to the over-Rs 900-crore fodder scam.
Talking about the case in brief - it was a fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 3.5 crores from the concerned Dumka Treasury by the Animal Husbandry Department officials between 1991 to 1996 and it was the same period of time when Lalu was serving as the state’s chief minister.
On 3rd of December, 2019, Yadav was re-elected unopposed as the President of the RJD.
Author – Devansh Dev