The Jharkhand High Court on Friday reserved its order on a petition filed by Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) leader and fodder-scam accused Lalu Prasad to transfer one of the cases, in which he is facing charges, from the court of Pravas Kumar Singh to another special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court.
After listening to lawyer Ram Jethmalani argue for Mr. Yadav, the single bench of Justice R.R. Prasad reserved its verdict for July 1.
Of 64 cases in the 1996-fodder scam, 53 cases were litigated in Ranchi and trial has been completed in 45 cases so far. In the trial for this particular case, RC 20-A/96 relating to fraudulent withdrawals of Rs. 37 crores from the Chaibasa treasury of the then Bihar government, Mr. Yadav had submitted a petition earlier this week requesting a transfer to another court. He had argued that the court was presided over by Mr. Pravas Kumar Singh, who is allegedly the relative of Janta Dal (U) leaders – his political opponents - and thus the court is prejudiced. The CBI’s initial charge sheet against Mr. Yadav in April 1996 had included charges in the Chaibasa case. There are 55 other persons accused in the case.
“It is strange that he is saying the court is prejudiced just before the final order is expected on July 15, and why he had not raised objections so far,” said a senior official part of the investigation team in the case.
If the High Court accepts Mr. Yadav’s plea, a separate CBI special court will listen to the entire matter which may take a year.