Phone call row: Jailed Lalu Yadav shifted back to paying ward of RIMS

The RJD chief has been lodged in RIMS Director’s bungalow since August 5 in the wake of increasing COVID-19 cases in Jharkhand.
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad (Photo | PTI)
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad (Photo | PTI)

RANCHI: A day after an alleged audio clip offering a ministerial berth to BJP MLA Lalan Paswan asking him to abstain from voting during Speaker’s election in Bihar became viral on social media, jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was shifted back to paying ward of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi on Thursday. 

The RJD chief is said to be a chronic patient of hypertension, diabetes, heart, kidney, and several other ailments, and hence, was shifted to Director’s bungalow on August 5 in the wake of increasing COVID -19 cases in Jharkhand.

The newly-appointed RIMS director Dr. Kameshwar Prasad, however, said that the decision was taken purely on medical ground.

“See the reasons for which Lalu Yadav was kept in Kelly Bungalow has now become non-significant, and hence, it was decided to shift him back to the paying ward of RIMS,” said the RIMS Director.

IG (Prisons) Virendra Bhushan had on Wednesday asked Ranchi Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police to look into the matter and submit a report in this regard.

Interestingly, the RJD chief’s close aide and self-proclaimed foster son Irfan Ansari, whose mobile phone was used in calling MLA Lalan Paswan, has gone underground with his phone switched off. Ansari has been taking care of him in jail with the directions of the Court.

Meanwhile, one more PIL was also filed in Jharkhand High Court on Thursday against the RJD chief seeking the court’s intervention since the use of a mobile phone by a prisoner was a blatant violation of the jail manual. The petition, filed by senior advocate Rajiv Kumar, alleged that Yadav was making phone calls to BJP leaders with the intent to destabilise the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in neighbouring Bihar.

A PIL demanding to shift RJD chief back to Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi is also pending in Jharkhand High Court.

Notably, the RJD chief, who is currently admitted to RIMS for over 2 years, becomes the longest admitted patient at RIMS. Initially, after being convicted by a Special CBI Court in Ranchi on December 23, 2017, in the second fodder scam case involving the illegal withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar treasury, the 72-year-old RJD chief was lodged in Birsa Munda Central jail in Ranchi but was shifted to RIMS on August 29, 2018, looking at his deteriorating health conditions.

Since then, he has been admitted to the super-specialty wing, then to the paying ward, and finally was shifted to Director’s Bungalow of RIMS on August 5 this year, which was widely criticized by the opposition parties alleging the Director’s Bungalow has been converted into RJD headquarters from where he is influencing elections in Bihar.

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