Jharkhand court reserves order on fodder scam case transfer

Ranchi, June 28 (IANS) The Jharkhand High Court Friday reserved judgment on a petition filed by Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad seeking transfer of the fodder scam case out of a CBI court. The verdict in this case was to be pronounced July 15.

“We pleaded that we will not get justice. The court reserved its judgment and may pass the order on Monday,” senior Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who appeared on behalf of Lalu Prasad, told reporters.

Lalu Prasad, in his petition, sought transfer of fodder scam case number RC 20/96 from the CBI court of Pravas Kumar Singh, claiming that Judge P.K. Sahi was a relative of JD-U leader and Bihar Education Minister P.K. Sahi, and implying that the judgment could be coloured by the judge’s allegiance to the minister.

The hearing in fodder scam case number RC 20A/96 has been completed by a CBI court of Ranchi.

The CBI court of Pravas Kumar Singh on June 20 fixed July 15 for pronouncing the verdict in the case. The court directed all the 45 accused to remain present in the court on that day.

The case is related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs.37.70 crore from the Chaibasa treasury of Jharkhand. The 45 accused include former chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra.

Lalu Prasad quit as chief minister in 1997, when his name figured in the CBI investigations in the fodder scam.

The Rs.900-crore fodder scam surfaced in 1996. It involved reimbursements of large sums of money from the Bihar exchequer for fodder and medicines for non-existent livestock.

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

Different CBI courts have passed verdicts in more than 43 cases.

Lalu Prasad and Mishra are accused in five cases.

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