SC puts Lalu Prasad back on trial in fodder scam case

Orders CBI to conclude the trial in nine months.

May 08, 2017 11:08 am | Updated 05:57 pm IST - NEW DELHI

RJD chief Lalu Prasad. File photo.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad. File photo.

In a blow to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad, the Supreme Court on Monday held that he and other accused persons, including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra, will be tried separately for corruption in a criminal case involving the withdrawal of Rs. 84.53 lakh and falsification of records from the Deoghar Treasury in 1991-94 in connection with the Rs. 900 crore fodder scam.

A Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra set aside the High Court decision of November 2014 to stop criminal proceedings against Mr. Prasad on the ground that the veteran leader cannot be found guilty of the same offences twice under Section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The apex court ordered the CBI to conclude the trial in nine months.

Mr. Prasad was, at the time of the High Court decision, already sentenced to a five-year rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case connected to the fodder scam involving the withdrawal of over Rs. 37.7 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury during 1994-95 on the basis of 78 fake allotment letters.

The sentence immediately led to his disqualification from Parliament and barred him from elections for 11 years.


The High Court had quashed the charges of criminal breach of trust by a public servant, cheating, various counts of forgery, fraud, falsification of accounts and offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the ground that the allegations in this case and the earlier Chaibasa Treasury one were the same.

Countering this, the CBI, which moved the Supreme Court, had argued that the High Court acted in error, as the charges in the two cases pertain to two different periods, the money withdrawals were made from different Treasuries, the financial losses caused are substantially different and the parties and suppliers are different.

“The question of prosecution of the respondent [Mr. Prasad] in this case, ie, R.C. Case No. 64A/1996, being hit by Section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, does not arise,” the CBI had contended.

Six other politicians and four IAS officers were also sentenced to prison terms for fraudulent withdrawal of money from the Chaibasa Treasury when Mr. Prasad was heading the RJD government in undivided Bihar in the early 1990s.

Mr Prasad was convicted in the Chaibasa case in October 2013. He, however, received bail from the Supreme Court in December the same year.

The case against the accused persons was that they entered into a criminal conspiracy by which they brought into existence fake allotment letters worth more than Rs. 5 crore in a dishonest and fraudulent manner. On the basis of these allotment letters, they fabricated 17 fake sub-allotment letters worth Rs. 97 lakhs in favour of District Animal Husbandry Officer (D.A.H.O.), Deoghar, inspite of genuine allotment of lessor sum of Rs. 4,73,000.

The amount covered under the fake allotment letters were utilised for making payment to co-conspirator accused suppliers against fake supply bills raised by them for the purported supply.

The further allegation is that these criminal activities of the officials and suppliers of Animal Husbandry Department had got patronage and protection of bureaucrats and politicians, including then Chief Minister,Mr. Prasad  and then Leader of the Opposition of the Assembly Mr. Mishra, who were providing their protection and patronage in different ways, including by hushing up enquiries in relation to fraudulent activities as well as by obstructing and preventing any effective enquiry in the matter of fraudulent withdrawal, resulting in the suppression of the outburst of scam.

The prosecution's further case was that these bureaucrats and politicians were getting a share in illegal money withdrawn from the Treasuries in lieu of the role played by them in the conspiracy as well as part of money illegally withdrawn from the Treasury.

The ill-gotten wealth was spent on arranging hospitality to the bureaucrats and politicians and their family members in various ways, including illegal gratification. The bureaucrats and politicians have close nexus with other accused persons and they had come to rescue them whenever such occasion had arisen.

The accused were booked under Sections 120B, 418, 420, 467, 468, 471, 477, 201 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 13(2) read with Sections 13(l)(d) & (c) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.