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‘Prosecution sanction against Lalu in fodder scam was unconstitutional’

Lalu Prasad produced RJD’s Banka MP Jai Prakash Narain Yadav as a witness to prove that the then Bihar governor had acted against the constitutional spirit to grant prosecution sanction against Prasad in 1997.

ranchi Updated: Jul 15, 2017 14:08 IST
Bedanti Saran
Bedanti Saran
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Lalu Prasad,Fodder Scam,CBI
RJD president Lalu Prasad proceeding to appear before a special CBI court in Ranchi(HT Photo/Parwaz Khan)

RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Thursday appeared before a CBI court here and produced two witnesses, including Bihar’s former HRD minister and currently Banka MP Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav, in his defence in a fodder scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 90 lakh from Deoghar treasury.

In yet another scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 38 crore from Chaibasa treasury, Prasad submitted a list of 35 witnesses in his defence. The trial of the said case moved a stage forward in which the court asked all the accused to produce witnesses in their defence. It also recorded the statement of Prasad’s defence witness Mohammad Jainul, retired undersecretary of the Bihar assembly secretariat, on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Prasad appeared before the special CBI judge Shiv Pal Singh to produce defence witnesses — RJD’s Banka MP Yadav and Jainul — in Deoghar treasury case.

Prasad’s lawyer Prabhat Kumar said, “Yadav’s testimony was necessitated to prove that the then Bihar governor had acted against the constitutional spirit to grant prosecution sanction against Prasad in 1997.”

“The former governor had granted prosecution sanction in absence of any cabinet decision in this regard, which is a violation of the Article 163 of the Constitution,” Kumar said.

He added that Yadav, who was the HRD minister between 1995 and 2000, in his statement given to the court said that no cabinet decision was taken during 1997 to grant prosecution sanction against Prasad. “Citing the constitutional provision, Yadav informed the court that the governor should exercise his/her functions on the aid and advice of the council of ministers,” Kumar said.

Another witness Jainul was produced to negate the CBI’s allegation that Prasad was fully aware of the fodder scam and he, being the chief minister and finance minister, never initiated any action to find out the cause of excess fund withdrawals from the animal husbandry department (AHD).

The CBI alleged that several MLAs had raised questions about the AHD scam in the Bihar assembly during 1994-95 and the government had furnished their replies too. Prasad, having full knowledge of the scam, therefore, connived to facilitate the fraud, the CBI alleged.

Testifying before the court, Jainul explained the procedures involved in raising questions in the assembly and furnishing replies by the minister concerned.

Recording the statements of Yadav and Jainul, the court fixed July 14 for producing other defence witnesses. Prasad will appear in person in the court on Friday too.

Prasad also appeared before special CBI judge S S Prasad in the Chaibasa treasury case. The judge recorded the testimony of Jainul in this case.

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 apex court in December later that year.

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 14:08 IST