RANCHI/PATNA: A festival-like atmosphere prevailed at the official residence of former CM Rabri Devi following the Jharkhand High Court order granting bail to her incarcerated husband Lalu Prasad on Saturday. The RJD chief, in jail since 2017 for a series of fodder scam cases, is admitted in AIIMS Delhi for various ailments. Since he is already on bail in three of the four cases related to the fodder scam, the latest court order is likely to pave the way for his return home.
The HC order on Saturday pertained to a fodder scam case related to illegal withdrawal Rs 3.13 crore from Dumka Treasury, part of united Bihar before Jharkhand became a separate state. The court gave the relief to Lalu on the ground that he has already completed half of his sentencing.
Lalu’s earlier plea for bail was rejected on February 19 as he fell short by one month and 17 days in completing half of his sentencing. “Since half of the sentencing had already been completed in the Dumka case, the court allowed the bail application,” said Lalu’s advocate Anant Kumar Vij. Lalu is likely to come out of jail within a week after a few court-related formalities, said Vij. The RJD chief has been asked to furnish two bail bonds of `1 lakh each. “He will also have to deposit his passport to the lower court and he cannot go out of the country without court permission,” said Vij.
The 72-year-old RJD chief, after being diagnosed with symptoms of pneumonia, was shifted to AIIMS-Ranchi in January on the recommendation of a medical board. He is also a chronic patient of hypertension, diabetes, heart and kidney ailments.
Bihar’s political circles believe that Lalu’s return to politics can impact the NDA government’s stability. Lalu’s younger son Tejashwi Yadav, who is leader of the Opposition, termed the court decision as a victory of justice. CM Nitish Kumar apparently remained unmoved by the development. “Mujhe nahi malum… ye sab hote rahata hai (I don’t know, all this keeps happening)”, he said.