Fodder scam: Interim relief for Lalu Prasad Yadav

Supreme Court gave an inclination that they may be willing to change the judge in the fodder scam case involving the former Bihar chief minister on Tuesday.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave CBI a week`s time to spell out its stand on RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav`s plea seeking transfer of trial in the fodder scam case to another trial court.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi adjourned the hearing after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) failed to tell the court about its position on Lalu Prasad`s plea.

As senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Lalu Prasad, also sought a week`s time to file an additional affidavit in support of his plea seeking transfer of the trial, Justice Ranjan Gogoi observed: "Why don`t you say whatever you have to say. Why are you delaying the matter?"

Posting the matter for August 06, the court asked CBI respondent Lallan Yadav and Lalu Prasad to say whatever they wanted to say so that the court could hold the final hearing into the matter on next date.

Earlier the Supreme Court had issued a notice to CBI on Lalu`s plea alleging that the trial court judge is biased against him as he is related to a minister in Nitish Kumar government.

This came after the Jharkhand High Court on July 01 dismissed a petition filed by the RJD chief seeking transfer of a fodder scam case from a CBI court. The verdict in the case was to be pronounced on July 15.

Prasad had filed the petition requesting transfer of RC20A case to another special CBI court as he did not "expect justice" from the present special CBI judge Pravas Kumar Singh following his alleged relationship with two Bihar-based JDU leaders, who are political opponents.

The case is related to alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.70 crore from the Chaibasa treasury of undivided Bihar and which is now a part of Jharkhand. Lalu Prasad was then the Bihar chief minister. Among the 45 accused is Jagannath Mishra, also a former Bihar chief minister.

Lalu Prasad had quit as Bihar chief minister in 1997 when his name figured in the CBI investigations into the case.

The Rs 900 crore fodder scam first surfaced in 1996 when large amounts were found to have been disbursed from the Bihar state exchequer for purchasing fodder and medicines for non-existent livestock.

Around 54 of the 61 cases were transferred to Jharkhand when it was carved out of Bihar in November 2000.

Different CBI courts have passed judgment in 43 cases.

With IANS inputs