Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad, along with the former Bihar Chief Minister, Jagannath Mishra, on Monday appeared before a special CBI court in the multi-crore fodder scam case.

Mr. Prasad and Mr. Mishra are among the prime members of the 34 accused in the case, which has dragged on for more than a decade-and-a-half.

All the accused are charged with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 47 lakh from the treasuries in Banka and Bhagalpur districts from where allegedly forged and fake bills were drawn by the State Animal Husbandry department in 1995-96.

Designated CBI judge B.K. Jain, however, did not take up the framing of charges after six of the accused, including Mr. Mishra, moved a petition praying that they be allowed to challenge the CBI court's August 18 directive, which rejected their discharge petitions, in the Patna High Court.

The petitioners have been granted time till September 21 to challenge the CBI court order.

The special CBI court had earlier rejected the petitions of Mr. Prasad and Mr. Mishra, besides nine others, which sought to exonerate them of charges in the multi-crore case.

The court had then dismissed similar petitions filed by nine others, including the former RJD Minister and ex-MP, Vidya Sagar Nishad; the Janata Dal (United) Lok Sabha member from Jehanabad, Jagdish Sharma; and the former Bharatiya Janata Party legislator, Dhruv Bhagat.