The Supreme Court’s verdict has come as a big setback for retired IAS officer and former Jharkhand chief secretary Sajal Chakroborty as well as for former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra who would now have to face the trial in multi-crore fodder scam cases.
The apex court on Monday set aside the Jharkhand high court order quashing the criminal proceedings initiated against Chakroborty in two separate fodder scam cases. It also reinstated four different fodder scam cases against Mishra by declaring the HC order null and void.
Chakroborty had earlier been facing trial in three separate scam cases--RC 51(A)/96, RC 20(A)/96 and RC 68(A)/96- the latter two related to fraudulent withdrawal of animal husbandry department’s fund from the Chaibasa treasury. He was convicted in the first case (RC 51(A)/96) and awarded four and half years of rigorous imprisonment in July 2008.
Chakroborty then filed an appeal petition in the Jharkhand high court challenging his conviction. Later, he also moved separate petitions challenging the validity of two other pending cases on the ground that all three scam cases against him were of similar nature and once convicted in one of them, he could not be tried in other two, citing constitutional provisions.
Responding to his petitions, the high court on April 12, 2012 had quashed the two pending fodder scam cases against him and after four months on August 3, 2012, acquitting him completely. He was thus discharged from all cases.
But, the apex court’s verdict on Monday , in effect, opened up the two scam cases--RC 20(A)/96 and RC 68(A)/96--against Chakroborty, observing that these cases were not of similar nature and he would have to face the trial.
“Since the case RC 20(A)/96 ended in conviction of all accused persons, including former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra, we will request the court to reopen the trial with respect to Chakroborty only. The other case RC 68(A)/96 is still running under trial stage,” said a senior CBI official monitoring the fodder scam cases in Ranchi.
He added, “We will also reinstate trial against Jagannath Mishra in the four pending fodder scam cases after the Supreme Court’s verdict. The proceedings in these cases against Mishra were dropped after the high court’s order”.
Mishra, who was convicted along with Lalu Prasad in RC 20 (A)/96 case, is now out on bail. His appeal petition challenging the conviction is pending in the Jharkhand HC.
Cases reinstated against Sajal Chakroborty
•RC 68 (A)/96 (fake withdrawal of Rs 33.61 crore from Chaibasa treasury)
•RC 20(A)/96 (fake withdrawal of Rs 37.70 crore from Chaibasa treasury)
Cases reinstated against Jagannath Mishra
• RC 64 (A)/96 (related to fake withdrawal of Rs 90 lakh from Deoghar treasury)
• RC 68 (A)/96 (fake withdrawal of Rs 33.61 crore from Chaibasa treasury)
• RC 47 (A)/96 (fake withdrawal of Rs 139.39 crore from Doranda treasury, Ranchi)
• RC 38 (A)/96 (fake withdrawal of Rs 3.31 crore from Dumka Treasury)