The Jharkhand High Court on Saturday, 17 April granted bail to RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal from Dumka Treasury.
Mr Yadav, currently in Delhi’s AIIMS for treatment, had earlier got bail in three out of the four cases linked to the swindle of government funds meant for cattle fodder. With the bail in the Dumka case, he can now return home after being released from the hospital.
The development comes after the High Court in the previous hearing on 19 February had rejected Lalu’s bail plea, saying that two months were left to complete half of the jail sentence and bail could be granted only after that.
After the plea was rejected, Lalu Prasad’s lawyer had claimed that two month jail period has not been counted, adding that Prasad had been in judicial custody for one month in 1997 and one month in 2001.
Yadav was sentenced to seven years in jail in the case.
The Fodder Scam
The RJD supremo has been convicted in four fodder scam cases. He was convicted in the first case in 2013 and in two more cases in 2017 and 2018.
This particular case pertains to the scandalous withdrawal of Rs 3.5 crore from the Dumka treasury by the officials of the Animal Husbandry Department between the period of 1991 and 1996 when Lalu served as the chief minister.
Lalu has been in prison since December 2017 and was sentenced to seven years of jail in 2018 under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and seven years under the Prevention of Corruption Act in relation to the fodder scam case.
Last October, Mr Yadav had been granted bail in connection with the Chaibasa treasury case, also related to the fodder scam.
In jail since December 2017, the 72-year-old served most of his jail sentence at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in Jharkhand. He was brought to Delhi in January after his health worsened.
In his absence, his son Tejashwi Yadav has been leading the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and has been credited with the party’s strong performance in the Bihar election last year. It was the first time in 40 years that Mr Yadav missed a state election campaign.
Tejashwi Yadav’s party emerged as the largest but the opposition alliance fell short of a majority, and BJP and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) went on to form the government for another term.