New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday granted bail to RJD chief Lalu Prasad in a fodder scam case, in a relief to the politician who is behind the bars for the last two months after being awarded a five-year jail term.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam granted bail after noting that several other similarly placed convicts have already been granted bail in the case. The bench also comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, left it to the trial court to decide the bail bonds, sureties and other conditions to be imposed on the former Member of Parliament. CBI, which is the prosecuting agency in the case, did not oppose Prasad's bail plea.
Pleading for bail, Prasad, who lost his membership of Parliament after being convicted in the case, submitted that of the 44 persons convicted along with him, 37 have been granted bail and no one's, except his bail plea has been rejected.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the politician, submitted Prasad has already spent 12 months behind bars, including two months of his five-year sentence, and sought bail, saying the Jharkhand High Court before which his appeal is pending will take at least seven to eight years to decide the case. Prasad had moved the apex court challenging the order of the Jharkhand High Court which had dismissed his bail plea.
The RJD chief, another former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and 43 others were on September 30 convicted by a special CBI court in the fodder scam case involving fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa Treasury during the Prasad-led RJD regime.
The CBI court had pronounced varying prison terms for the convicted persons on October 3. In his bail petition, the RJD chief had said, "No reason has been given by the court for the rejection of bail. The petitioner has been treated differently in the matter of grant of bail in as much as some of the co-accused, who are similarly situated, have been granted bail."
Rabri hails SC order; RJD calls for celebration
Patna: Welcoming the Supreme Court order granting bail to her husband and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad in a fodder scam case, former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi on Friday said she always had faith in the judiciary.
"I had faith in the judiciary that it will do justice to my husband," she told reporters at her 10, Circular Road residence in the state capital while reacting to the apex court order granting bail to Prasad in the fodder scam case.
Observing that Prasad's imminent release from a Ranchi jail would enthuse the RJD workers and boost her party's electoral prospects in the general elections, she said the RJD supremo and other senior leaders will launch extensive campaign in Bihar in months to come.
The former chief minister conceded that the RJD supremo's conviction in the fodder scam case and subsequent imprisonment had demoralising effect on the party and its workers, but differed that the development had weakened the party.
Regarding the RJD's electoral strategy, she said her party will fight the general elections with renewed vigour by working for unity among like-minded secular forces.
Another senior RJD leader and the party's chief whip in the legislative assembly Samrat Chaudhary said on Friday was the day for celebration to mark the apex court's decision to grant bail to Prasad in the fodder scam case.
"It's a day of celebration for RJD workers," he said while reacting to the Supreme Court's decision to grant bail to the RJD supremo. RJD MLA Bhai Dinesh was seen distributing sweets to everybody in the state legislature premises to celebrate the grant of bail to his party supremo by the apex court.
Dinesh, an MLA from Bhojpur district, also tried to offer sweets to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who politely refused it while stepping inside the state assembly premise.
Earlier, upon hearing about the apex court verdict, Dinesh raised pro-Lalu slogans while entering the state legislative assembly generating curiosity among the lawmakers. RJD leaders and workers in the districts spontaneously took to streets to celebrate the SC's decision granting bail to their supremo and were seen bursting firecrackers and spraying colours on each other.
Next: MPs welcome SC's decision to grant bail to Lalu Prasad
MPs welcome SC's decision to grant bail to Lalu Prasad
New Delhi: MPs belonging to various parties on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court's decision to grant bail to RJD chief Lalu Prasad in a fodder scam case.
Shivanand Tiwari of the JD(U), RJD's main rival in Bihar, said, "I felt good when I heard that he has been given bail. Even dacoits and robbers get bail. So not surprising that Lalu Prasad has been given bail. But I would still say I am happy".
Tiwari is a former associate of Prasad and a former member of the RJD.
Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Ramgopal Yadav welcomed Prasad's bail and said it should have happened much earlier. "He should have been given bail earlier by the High Court itself but was denied. That was wrong," he said.
Congress leader and Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal also hailed the apex court's decision and said, "We are happy that Laluji has got bail. We think the elections are near and he is a leader of a big political party. Everything must happen according to the law. We welcome the bail granted to him by the Supreme Court".
RJD leader Ramkripal Yadav said the party welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court to grant bail to Prasad as it will help in encouraging the party cadres.