Ranchi | Jagran News Desk: Providing a huge relief to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) founder and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Jharkhand High Court on Saturday granted him bail in the fodder scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal from Dumka Treasury, paving way for his release from jail.

Lalu, who is currently admitted to Delhi AIIMS, was sentenced to jail for seven years after being accused in the Dumka Treasury case. He later moved to the Jharkhand High Court and filed a bail plea. However, the court rejected his plea as he had fallen short by one month and 17 days to complete half of his sentencing.

Prasad had already acquired bail in three out of the four cases of the fodder scam in which he has been convicted and acceptance of his request in the case related to illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from the Dumka treasury could have helped him come out of the jail.

The court was also slated to hear another matter relating to violation of jail manuals by Prasad, but it could not do so because of paucity of time and posted it for next hearing on February 26.

On direction of the court, the Ranchi based RIMs has submitted reply on health of imprisoned RJD leader and also sending him to AIIMS Delhi.

The RJD chief was airlifted to AIIMS Delhi on January 23 last.

The hearing into the RJD chief's bail application went for 2.5 hours.

Prasad's lawyer Kapil Sibal, who participated in the hearing virtually from Delhi, argued that his client has spent 42 months while CBI contented that he has completed 37 months and 19 days and hence bail should not be provided.

The court after perusing papers related to the claims of both the sides concluded that Prasad has spent 40 months of sentence in the case.

The court asked him to file a fresh application after two months.

A special CBI court in Ranchi had in March 2018 sent Prasad to 14 years in jail and fined Rs 60 lakh in the fourth fodder scam case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of money from Dumka treasury in the early 1990s.

CBI judge Shiv Pal Singh had awarded two separate sentences of seven years each to Prasad under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Acts.

Both the sentences will have to be served consecutively.

In the first fodder scam case, dating back to 2013, the RJD supremo was convicted for illegal withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from the Chaibasa treasury.

He got five years' prison term in the case following which he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha.

In Patna, Prasad's family members as well as party leaders were glued to their TV screens waiting for the good news from Ranchi. But, their hope did not come true.

RJD spokesman Shakti Singh Yadav said outside Rabri Devi's residence in Patna that they were hopeful of an ailing Lalu ji getting bail and coming back home.

"We have high regards for the judiciary and accept the court's verdict," he said.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma