CBI Director wants to drop charges against Lalu in fodder scam

In a surprise move, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has advocated the dropping of charges against Lalu Prasad Yadav in the three pending cases which are offshoots of the infamous fodder scam in which the RJD leader has been convicted in one of the cases.

PTI| Last Updated: Mar 13, 2014, 16:55 PM IST

New Delhi: In a surprise move, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has advocated the dropping of charges against Lalu Prasad Yadav in the three pending cases which are offshoots of the infamous fodder scam in which the RJD leader has been convicted in one of the cases.

In recommending that the charges against Yadav be dropped, Sinha differed not only with Director of Prosecution (DOP) OP Verma but also other senior officers of the Patna Branch, including the head of Patna Zone.

The matter has now been referred to the Solicitor General on the "specific" request of Sinha even though the Attorney General is the designated authority in case of difference of opinion between the CBI director and the DOP.

"(Most of) the evidence in the case and most of the accused persons are common, including the ingredients of charges in the said cases.

"I am of the view that a person may not be tried for the same offences in another case for which he has already been convicted when the evidence is the same," Sinha said.

"I disagree with the Branch, HOZ and DOP. Since I do not agree with the DOP, let the matter be referred to the Solicitor General for his opinion on the legal issues raised in the petitions in all the three RCs referred to in the comments of DOP," he had said on February 26.

Yadav, the former Bihar chief minister, has already been convicted in one of the cases related to the fodder scam.

The cases in which Sinha recommended that charges against Yadav be dropped are connected with the alleged illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from Dumka Treasury during the period December, 1995 - January, 1996, Rs 84.53 lakh from Deoghar Treasury between 1990-94 and Rs 33.13 crore from Chaibasa Treasury during December, 1992-93.
Sinha said the views of CBI branch officers and JD are not consistent with the observations made in Criminal Appeal SJ No.50 of 2014 (Jagdish Sharma Vs State of Jharkhand through CBI) in Jharkhand wherein the court said "it does appear that the appellant has been proceeded with in this case also on the same charge and ingredients of the charges also appear to be same".

The matter was examined by CBI at various levels in which Director of Prosecution OP Verma had opined that provisions of Section 300(1) of CrPC and Article 20(2) of the Constitution are not attracted in the present case.
Section 300(1) says that a person who has once been tried by a court of competent jurisdiction for an offence and convicted or acquitted of such offence shall, while such conviction or acquittal remains in force, not be liable to be tried again for the same offence, nor on the same facts for any other offence for which a different charge from the one made against him might have been made under sub-section (1) of Section 221, or for which he might have been convicted under sub-section (2) thereof.

Verma cited the Supreme Court judgement in a case involving Yadav which stated that "the main offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act in each case is in respect of separate and distinct Acts, i.E. Monies siphoned out of different treasuries at different times. A conspiracy is only an allied offence, it cannot be said that the alleged overt act is in course of the same transaction."