PATNA: Jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s bail petition in the Deoghar treasury case of the fodder scam was on Friday rejected by Jharkhand High Court, posing before him the stark prospect of having to spend more time behind the bars while his party faces a leadership crisis.
Yadav, who is lodged in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail since his conviction in the case in December last, had sought bail on the ground of poor health. But the CBI counsel protested, saying the 69-year-old leader’s reasonable good health is evident in his regular interactions with the media during his appearances at the special CBI courts.
Rejecting the bail petition, Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh observed that the plea could have been considered had Yadav spent at least half of the prison term he was awarded. The judge also said the Rs 1,000-crore fodder scam in united Bihar in the mid-1990s seemed to have been perpetrated in his knowledge. Since he took no steps to stop the scam even as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) kept the file for years, the court is not inclined to release him on bail, said Justice Singh.
Hearing of Yadav’s bail plea in the Chaibasa treasury case, in which he was sentenced to five years in jail on January 24, was posted to March 9.
Rejection of bail in the HC came as a rude jolt to RJD, which is working hard to ensure the victory of its candidates in the bypolls in Bihar slated for March 11. RJD national vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said a bail petition would be filed in the Supreme Court shortly.
Yadav’s younger son and Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly, Tejaswi Yadav, sent ripples across political circles by claiming at a public rally that he fears being poisoned by people linked to the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in the state.
“Since I am now on a statewide tour and stay at the government-run circuit houses, my well-wishers have warned me to be careful about what I eat and drink. They have said these people can mix anything in my food, even poisonous chemicals. They can also mix alcohol and get me arrested,” said Tejaswi, a former deputy chief minister, in his address at a massively attended public meeting in Muzaffarpur.
The ruling BJP and JD(U) said Tejaswi’s fears were “ill-founded and reflect his desperation”.