PIL in Jharkhand high court seeks to move Lalu Prasad back to jail
A public interest litigation (PIL) has been moved in the Jharkhand high court seeking judicial order to the state government to immediately shift Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and fodder scam convict Lalu Prasad to the Ranchi jail.
Prasad began his latest jail term on December 23, 2017, after his conviction in three fodder scam cases in quick succession.
But the former Bihar chief minister has been undergoing treatment in custody at Ranchi’s Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) for the last two years. He was shifted from the hospital’s paying ward to the director’s bungalow early this month due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
One Manish Kumar has filed the PIL highlighting how Prasad, unlike any ordinary convict, is availing VIP facilities at RIMS’ director’s bungalow in flagrant violation of jail manual.
The petitioner alleged that Prasad was allowed to meet his acquaintances regularly without having any regard to the jail manual.
“This all is happening under the garb of treatment right under the nose of the state government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the prosecuting agency, which remain a mute spectator,” said the petitioner’s lawyer Manoj Tondon.
He added that all convicted persons should be treated at par. “When an ordinary convicted person is compelled to remain behind bars, why Prasad, being a political leader, should be given extra favour and why he should be allowed to enjoy the facilities at the director’s bungalow,” Tondon argued, saying, “This is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.”
Earlier, when Prasad was arrested in Bihar as an accused in the fodder scam, he was put in a guest house. After the Supreme Court’s intervention, he was finally sent to Beur Jail, Patna, Tondon said.
He added that the said apex court’s order was annexed with the PIL.
Prasad had suffered a major jolt in the fodder scam case on September 30, 2013, when a trial court in Ranchi held him guilty in the first of six cases against him. The conviction got him five years in prison, disqualification from Parliament and a ban on contesting elections. He was given bail by the Supreme Court in December that year.
The former Bihar chief minister’s trouble renewed again after December 23, 2017, when he had been convicted in three other fodder scam cases in quick succession and awarded different terms of imprisonment.
After spending initial two months from December, 2017, to February, 2018, in Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi, Prasad had developed health complications in the middle of March, 2018, and he was shifted to hospital. Since then, he has not returned to jail.