In a big setback to former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed his plea to transfer the 1996 fodder scam case against him to a new judge.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal chief had alleged that CBI judge PK Singh, who is hearing the case in Jharkhand, was related to a minister in Nitish Kumar's government in Bihar and was biased.
If found guilty, Prasad stands to lose his seat in Parliament as a recent SC ruling has ordered immediate disqualification of an MP/MLA on being convicted and sentenced to two years and above.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam found Prasad's plea devoid of merit, saying the doubt of impartiality against the judge was raised at the fag-end of the trial.
The court, however, gave Prasad, accused of fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore, 15 days to complete his arguments and another five days to the prosecution for the same. It also asked the trail court to deliver the verdict as soon as possible.