Lalu Prasad granted bail by Supreme Court in fodder scam case

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Lalu Prasad granted bail by Supreme Court in fodder scam case

File photo of RJD chief Lalu Prasad

New Delhi:  Lalu Prasad Yadav, former union minister, has been granted bail in the fodder scam case by the Supreme Court and will soon walk out of jail in Jharkhand.

The 66-year-old Rashtriya Janata Dal leader was arrested in September after being found guilty of embezzling government funds while he was Bihar Chief Minister. He was sent to jail for five years.

The fact that he can leave prison will gladden his party, which ran the risk of being perceived as leaderless just months away from the national election. Lalu's wife, Rabri Devi, had taken charge of the RJD. In 1997, when he was first arrested in the case, she took over as chief minister.

"His release will have a huge impact in Bihar," said his party colleague Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.

Mr Prasad can't contest the election. After he was convicted, Mr Prasad was disqualified as a parliamentarian and banned from contesting elections for the next six years, both rules set by a recent Supreme Court verdict which calls for barring MPs convicted in corruption cases.

He was tried by a CBI court which convicted him and nearly 40 others of siphoning Rs 37 crore by submitting fake bills for animal husbandry. There are a multitude of cases linked to what's known as the fodder scam, which was worth 900 crores.

While granting him bail today, a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said, "Similar accused have already been granted bail and Lalu Prasad was in jail for a year out of his five-year sentence."

The CBI had told the Chief Justice that Mr Prasad "should not run away."

Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani had argued that barring Lalu Prasad, no other convict in the case has been refused bail. 44 people were convicted in the case, he said, of whom 37 have already been granted bail.


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