The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to change the trial judge hearing case against RJD Chief Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam even as the prosecuting agency CBI remained silent on the allegation levelled by the former Bihar Chief Minister against the judge who has already reserved the verdict in the case.
A bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi said that it would pass order either directing the High Court to appoint a new judge or would itself do so if there is consensus among the parties on name of the judge who is to hear the case.
The court asked the counsel of Mr. Lalu, CBI and JD(U) leader Rajiv Ranjan, on whose plea the High Court is monitoring the scam, to evolve a consensus on the name of the judge and posted the case for hearing on August 6.
Interestingly the CBI, which was asked by the apex court on July 9 to take a stand on the allegations of Mr. Lalu that special CBI judge P.K. Singh is biased against him, did not respond and sought more time to file its response.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Ranjan, opposed Mr. Lalu’s plea and contended that the judge has been hearing the case since 2011 and the RJD chief did not raise objection in 275 days of hearing that took place since then.
The bench, however, was of the view that it would be better to change the judge in view of allegation levelled against him.