Lalu bail plea: Being party president, I need to make 2019 poll preparations
Incarcerated Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad has moved the Jharkhand High Court, seeking bail in three fodder scam cases, on the grounds that his party required his presence to prepare for the 2019 general elections.
Prasad pleaded that being the president of his party, he was the only person authorised to select candidates for different parliamentary constituencies. He stated that without his signature, the Election Commission would not allocate symbols to the candidates and, as per the rules, he could not vest this power in any other person.
Prasad is currently undergoing treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) here in Ranchi. Besides election urgency, Prasad also highlighted his poor health condition as one of the grounds for bail.
“We have filed regular bail applications, taking various grounds to be decided on merit. We have countered all allegations made by the CBI. None of the CBI witnesses had ever pointed out Prasad’s direct involvement in the (fodder) scam,” said Prasad’s advocate Prabhat Kumar.
The court is yet to take up Prasad’s bail application for hearing.
The RJD chief has been in custody since December 23 last year, after his conviction in three fodder scam cases, one after the other. After spending more than two months in jail, Prasad had developed health complications and undergone treatment at RIMS, Ranchi, and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, for nearly two months.
AIIMS doctors had diagnosed that Prasad was suffering from 15 different diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, perianal abscess, and acute kidney injury from chronic kidney disease.
He was granted provisional bail for six weeks by the high court on May 11 for specialised treatment at the Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai. The court had subsequently twice extended the bail period, which finally ended on August 30. Since then, he has been getting treatment at RIMS.
Prasad was first convicted on December 23, in connection with the scam related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar treasury, and got three-and-a-half years of jail term.
His second conviction came on January 24, in the case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.13 crore from Chaibasa treasury. He was awarded five years of imprisonment in this case.
On March 19, he was found guilty in the third fodder scam case, related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.76 crore from Dumka treasury, and got 14 years of jail term.