The Supreme Court in its verdict on a CBI appeal has agreed to revive criminal conspiracy charges against former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad in one of the cases pertaining to the fodder scam. The Court has asked CBI to further investigate into the case.The trial must be completed in 9 months.
Prasad has been convicted in a separate fodder scam case, part of 20-year racket to bleed public funds of more than Rs 900 crore. It earned him a five-year sentence, disqualification from Parliament and a ban from contesting election.
Monday’s ruling is on an appeal against Jharkhand high court order dropping charges of criminal conspiracy against Prasad. The HC had held that a person once convicted or acquitted cannot be tried for the same offence again. The CBI challenged the order in the apex court eight months later, where Prasad’s counsel opposed it for being filed too late.
A ruling against Prasad could weaken his position in the Bihar government, where his Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is in an alliance with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), particularly after rivals recently targeted him and his family for acquiring a mall in Patna through front companies.
A bench of Justice Arun Kumar Misra and Justice Amitava Kumar Roy will read out the judgement at 10:30 am. The two had reserved it on April 20, after giving a detailed hearing to all parties involved in the case.
A special CBI court in Ranchi had convicted Prasad and 44 others on September, 2013 over fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.70 crore from Chaibasa treasury as part of the con to embezzle funds from the exchequer for fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle. The scam came to light in 1996.