Supreme Court agrees to hear bail plea of RJD chief

Lalu Prasad YadavThe Supreme Court today agreed to hear the bail plea of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is serving a five-year jail term following his conviction in a fodder scam case, and sought response from CBI.

A bench of chief justice P Sathasivam and justice Ranjan Gogoi directed CBI, which is the prosecuting agency in the fodder scam case, to file its response within two weeks. The case had been posted for hearing to 13 December.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Yadav, submitted that the RJD chief was one among the 44 accused convicted but the only person whose bail plea was rejected by the trial court.

He contended that 37 convicts had so far been granted bail in the case and there had been no rejections in their case.

He further submitted that it would take a long time for the Jharkhand High Court to dispose of his clients' appeal against conviction.

Yadav, who lost his membership of parliament following his conviction in the case, had moved the apex court challenging the Jharkhand High Courts' order.

Yadav and another former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra along with 42 others were on 30 September convicted by a special CBI court in the fodder scam case involving fraudulent withdrawal of Rs37.7 crore from Chaibasa Treasury during the Prasad-led RJD regime.

The RJD chief has pointed out in his plea that, "No reason has been given by the court for the rejection of bail. The petitioner has been treated differently in the matter of grant of bail in as much as some of the co-accused, as stated above, who are similarly situated, have been granted bail."

Yadav has submitted that he had already spent nearly 10 months in jail during the trial and nearly two months after the conviction, adding that there was no possibility of him absconding from the country after getting bail.

"That the petitioner was the chief minister of the state of Bihar, the railway minister, is also the leader of a political party and until the date of his conviction in the present case, was a sitting Member of Parliament, hence, is not likely to abscond from the country," the petition has said.

"It is thus respectfully submitted that the impugned order is unsustainable in law. It is also inconsistent that some of the persons, who are co-accused and have been convicted along with him in the same case, have been granted bail while he has been singled out," it said.