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Lalu Prasad moved back to hospital

Lalu Prasad Yadav. File  

Amid an audio clip row, which earlier had gone viral on social media, to lure a Bihar Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA for support in the Assembly Speaker’s election, imprisoned Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad on Thursday was shifted from the Kelly Bungalow, official residence of the Director of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), to its paying ward in Ranchi, where he is receiving medical attention for several ailments.

Earlier, the Jharkhand government had ordered a probe into Prasad’s alleged phone call to a Bihar BJP MLA Lalan Paswan to seek his support in the election to the Bihar Assembly Speaker’s post on Wednesday. Senior State BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi had alleged that Mr. Prasad had made a telephone call to the party MLA from Pirpainti in Bhagalpur, Lalan Paswan, and offered him a ministerial berth for his support in the Speaker’s election. Mr. Lalan Paswan, too, had later reiterated what Mr. Prasad had told him during his telephone call. The alleged audio clip of the conversation between two leaders had also gone viral on social media.

“I have asked the concerned district and jail authorities to inquire into the matter and also to take suitable action, if allegations are found to be true,” Ranchi Jail Inspector General Virendra Bhushan told local mediapersons. Mr. Bhushan further said that the “jail manual does not allow use of mobile phones during judicial custody”. Earlier, Mr. Prasad, who is undergoing medical attention for several ailments at RIMS, was shifted from the hospital’s paying ward to its Director’s official residence, the Kelly Bungalow, with the permission of the district administration, to stay away from COVID-19 infection. However, on Thursday, after the alleged telephone call row erupted, he was again shifted to the hospital’s paying ward.

Meanwhile, a Public Interest Litigation has also been filed in the Jharkhand High Court, seeking a proper examination of Prasad’s ailment, and to send him back to jail from the hospital ward. “We will appeal to the honourable court to get Mr. Prasad medically examined by the doctors of the Armed Forces on whether he needs to be admitted in the hospital or to be shifted back to jail,” the petitioner’s counsel Rajeev Kumar said. Earlier, Bihar BJP MLA Neeraj Kumar Babloo had demanded a “CBI inquiry into the phone call made by Mr. Prasad, and he should be shifted to Tihar Jail in Delhi”.

Convicted in as many as four fodder scam cases, Prasad is imprisoned in the Birsa Munda Central Jail of Ranchi since December 2017. He has received bail in three cases, while the hearing of a fourth case of fraudulent withdrawal of ₹3.13 crore from Dumka treasury is scheduled to be held on November 27. “If Mr. Prasad would get bail in the case tomorrow [November 27], as he has already served half of the jail term in the case, he would come out of jail,” Prabhat Kumar, Prasad’s counsel, said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 10:32:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/lalu-prasad-moved-back-to-hospital/article33186252.ece

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