SC rejects bail for Lalu Yadav in fodder scam cases

Top court says no danger except you are convicted.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to entertain a petition from RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, seeking bail in the four fodder scam cases in which he has been convicted and sentenced to undergo seven years imprisonment.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna dismissed the bail petition after hearing senior counsel Kapil Sibal urging the court to consider grant of bail on medical grounds.

Mr Sibal said, “If I (Lalu Prasad) am released on bail, I won’t run away. The Jharkhand High Court is not hearing my appeal. What is the danger if I am released on bail.” The CJI replied, “There is no danger, except that you are convicted.” The Bench also pointed out that Lalu had been in jail for less than 24 months and he can’t be released on bail at this stage.

The CBI had strongly opposed bail to Lalu Prasad and said the grant of any relief in favour of the petitioner would not only be against the “zero tolerance policy on corruption” but would also be setting a very wrong precedence in all corruption cases. Lalu Prasad sought bail on the ground that he was unwell and had already spent 13 months in prison. The CBI said that Lalu has served sentence post-conviction only for 4 months approximately and has remained in hospital for a period of 8 1/2 months on the ground that his condition is so bad that he cannot be housed in a jail.

Further during the period in which the petitioner remained in hospital, he is not only granted a special paying ward with all facilities but he is virtually conducting his political activities from there which would be clear from the visitors register.

It submitted that simultaneous raising of pleas for bail on medical grounds and bail to guide the party and to carry out all essential responsibilities as a party president in ensuing Lok Sabha election are mutually contradictory and manifests that in the garb of bail on Medical Ground, the Petitioner in essence want to pursue his political activities which is impermissible in law.

The petitioner is a convicted person / accused who occupied the constitutional office of the Chief Minister of one of the largest States in the country and who has been held to be guilty of misappropriation of Rs. 75.48 crores in four Fodder Scam Cases and who is still undergoing trial in two cases for another misappropriation of Rs.139.45 crores.

Considering the gravity of the offence of corruption in public as well as the constitutional office which the petitioner abused and misappropriated huge amount of public money, and considering that the petitioner is to undergo 27 1/2 years of sentence [cumulatively calculated for all four convictions], the discretionary remedy of grant of bail is rightly refused by both the courts below and this may not be a case where this Court ought to interfere, the CBI said and sought dismissal of the bail plea.

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