The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the CBI on a special leave petition filed by RJD supremo Lalu Prasad — who has been convicted and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for five years by a trial court in Jharkhand — seeking bail in the fodder scam cases.

A Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notice after hearing senior counsel Ram Jethmalani and senior counsel P.H. Parekh, appearing for Lalu. The SLP is directed against a judgment of the Jharkhand High Court dated October 31 rejecting bail. The trial court by an order dated September 30 and October 3 convicted the accused in the case and awarded the punishment.

Mr. Jethmalani told the court that out of 44 convicted persons, 37 had been released on bail and the case of six others for bail was under the consideration. Only Lalu was denied bail, counsel said and added that he had so far remained in jail for over a year out of the five year sentence period. The Bench issued notice and directed listing the matter on December 13.

Lalu in his SLP contended that the High Court failed to exercise the judicially the discretionary power for bail as no reason had been given for rejection of the bail. He had been treated differently in the matter of grant of bail in as much as the co-accused had been granted bail.

He said the entire case of the prosecution was based on circumstantial evidence and there was not an iota of direct evidence; the evidence of two approvers, viz Dr. S.K. Singh and Deepesh Chandok was based on hearsay evidence which was inadmissible. The High Court would take at least five to six years for disposal of the appeal against the trial court verdict and his incarceration in prison would never be compensation if he was finally acquitted, he said and prayed for releasing him on bail on any terms and conditions.