Jharkhand High Court adjourns hearing on Lalu Prasad Yadav's bail plea to Feb 12
- The former Bihar chief minister has been serving jail term since December 23, 2017, after his conviction in three fodder scam cases.
The Jharkhand High Court on Friday adjourned hearing on Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's bail plea for February 12, even as the leader filed a supplementary affidavit to highlight the period of custody served by him and the recent developments on his health front as grounds.
The former Bihar chief minister has been serving jail term since December 23, 2017, after his conviction in three fodder scam cases in quick succession.
Prasad has already secured bail in two cases on the ground of completion of half of the term. He moved a bail application in the third and last case on similar ground in the High Court last year.
Filing a supplementary affidavit with the court, Prasad said that he would be completing half of the sentence (42 months) on February 7. Urging the court to grant him bail, he also stated that he was airlifted and moved to the All India institute of medical sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, last week after his health condition deteriorated.
The bench of Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh, however, adjourned the matter for next hearing on February 12, asking the opposite party, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to file its reply, if any, in the meanwhile.
"We have received Prasad's supplementary affidavit but nothing new has been disclosed in it to counter our earlier stand that the leader has to serve about eight months more to complete half of the sentence in this case," said assistant solicitor general and CBI's counsel Rajiv Sinha.
He added, "According to our calculation, Prasad has only completed 34 months and some days in custody, which is still short of about eight months to complete 3.5 years. His other ground of deteriorating health has nothing to do with bail. An ailing person requires treatment and that is being given to him."
However, Prasad's lawyer Prabhat Kumar said, "On the last date of hearing in December 2020, we had sought six weeks to furnish a detailed computation of the period served by Prasad in custody."
He added, "We have now filed a supplementary affidavit with a revised chart supported by lower court's certified order sheets to show the details of custody period served by Prasad in this case."
According to the revised computation, Prasad would be completing half of the sentence on February 7, Kumar said.
The aforesaid fodder scam case against Prasad relates to fraudulent withdrawal of ₹3.76 crore from Dumka treasury during December 1995 to January 1996.
A special CBI court, in 2018, had sentenced Prasad to 14 years of imprisonment- seven under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and another seven years under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
It had expressly said both sentences would run consecutively.
However, Prasad’s lawyers hope that the High Court will strike down this decision and let the two sentences run concurrently. If that happens, Prasad will have to undergo a seven-year imprisonment in this case.
Prasad, who had been undergoing treatment in custody for over two years in Ranchi's Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), was moved to AIIMS, New Delhi, last week after his condition deteriorated.