CBI chief Ranjit Sinha, citing rules under the CrPC, has advocated that at least three pending fodder scam cases against Lalu Prasad be dropped. In an opinion different from CBI Director of Prosecution (DoP) O P Verma, Sinha said a person may not be tried for the same offences in another case for which he has already been convicted when the evidence is the same.
“Since I do not agree with the DoP, let the matter be referred to the Solicitor General for his opinion on the legal issues raised in the petitions in all the three RCs referred to in the comments of DoP,” Sinha had pointed out in a letter on February 26. On the request of CBI chief, the issue was referred to the Solicitor General, seeking his legal opinion.
The CBI chief had recommended that charges against Lalu, who was recently convicted in one of the cases, be dropped in three cases-- alleged illegal withdrawal of `3.13 crore from Dumka Treasury during December 1995 to January 1996, alleged illegal withdrawal of `84.53 lakh from Deoghar Treasury during 1990 to 1994 and `33.13 crore from Chaibasa Treasury during December 1992 to 1993.
According to CrPC 300 (1), “a person who has once been tried by a Court of competent jurisdiction for an offence and convicted or acquitted of such offence shall, while such conviction or acquittal remains in force, not be liable to be tried again for the same offence.” However, DoP O P Verma was of the opinion that provisions under the CrPC sections are not attracted in the fodder scam case. Verma cited a 2003 Supreme Court judgment in a case involving Lalu Yadav ( Lalu vs State through CBI) which clearly stated that the main offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act in each case is in respect of separate and distinct acts- money siphoned out of different treasuries at different times.
“The main offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act in each case are in respect of the alleged transaction in that case. As conspiracy is only an allied offence, it cannot be said that the alleged overt acts are in the course of the same transaction.”