In a fresh blow to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Supreme Court on Monday ordered him to face trial in all multi-crore fodder scam cases. Former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra and former top bureaucrat Sajal Chakraborty will also face trial in the case along with the RJD leader.
"We have held that for each offence there will be a separate trial," the bench said.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea filed by the CBI against a 2014 Jharkhand High Court order quashing four pending fodder scam cases against him on the grounds that a person convicted in one case could not be tried in similar cases based on same witnesses and evidence.
Setting aside the high court order, a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy directed the trial court to complete the proceedings against 68-year-old Yadav and others within nine months. The court also ordered that Lalu should be tried for criminal conspiracy charges in all four cases separately. It also questioned the Jharkhand High Court's handling of the case, stating the court should have been consistent in its findings and should not have given different views for different sets of accused in a case.
The fodder scam relates to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 900 crore by the Animal Husbandry Department from various district when Lalu was the chief minister.
The apex court also pulled up the CBI for delay in filing appeal against the high court order in the case. The Supreme Court said that the CBI director should have looked into this important matter and deputed an officer to pursue the case.
The apex court had in November 2016 pulled up Mishra for allegedly dragging and delaying the appeal filed by CBI challenging the quashing of four pending fodder scam cases against him.
The CBI has already produced 208 witnesses and several others are to be produced.
Altogether 48 people, including Lalu, were made accused in the Dumka treasury case. Fifteen of them have died and two turned government approvers, while two others were acquitted.
Lalu was convicted in the RC 20A-96 case in one of the five fodder scam cases on 30 September, 2013. The four-year sentence led to his losing Lok Sabha membership.
With inputs from PTI
Published Date: May 08, 2017 11:39 am | Updated Date: May 08, 2017 12:36 pm