NEW DELHI: Former Bihar chief minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking bail during pendency of his appeal in Jharkhand high court against conviction in a fodder scam case, in which the trial court held him guilty and sentenced him to five years imprisonment.
Senior advocate PH Parekh mentioned Prasad’s petition for early hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam. The bench posted the bail plea for hearing on Friday.
Prasad complained that he had been treated differently by the high court, which on one hand denied bail to him but enlarged on bail similarly placed convicts in the fodder scam cases.
He cited the example of RK Rana who was convicted in two cases relating to the fodder scam – one in 2009 and the other in 2013 — and in both cases he was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Prasad said the HC had not given any reason why it did not exercise its discretionary powers in his case as it had done for other similarly placed convicts in fodder scam cases.
“No reason has been given by the high court for the rejection of petitioner’s (Prasad’s) prayer for bail. The petitioner has been treated differently in the matter of grant of bail in as much as some of the co-accused, as stated above, who are similarly situated, had been granted bail,” he said.
Prasad and 44 others were convicted under Prevention of Corruption Act for misappropriation of money from the Chaibasa treasury as part of a conspiracy relating to fodder scam on September 30 by the trial court. A Ranchi court had sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment of five years and a fine of Rs 25 lakh, of which Rs 90,000 was to be paid to the state as compensation.
He said the HC failed to appreciate that the entire prosecution case was based on circumstantial evidence and the statements of approvers were based on mere hearsay than any cogent fact. He said he had already spent 10 months in prison cumulatively and had been in jail for two months since conviction, making it a full year of incarceration.
“Petitioner was the CM of Bihar, Union railway minister, is also the leader of a political party in the country and until the date of his conviction in the present case, was a Member of Parliament, hence he is not likely to abscond,” Prasad said.
Prasad was the first to lose his membership of Lok Sabha following his conviction as per the latest ruling of the Supreme Court, which took away the privilege bestowed on elected representatives to file an appeal against the conviction and keep membership of the House.
TOI | Nov 26, 2013 SEE MORE