[Fodder Scam] Supreme Court tags CBI’s plea challenging Lalu Yadav’s bail along with pending pleas; refuses to issue notice

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CBI has challenged the Jharkhand High Court’s order granting Lalu Prasad Yadav bail in the case.

The Supreme Court on Monday tagged the plea filed by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) challenging the grant of bail to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav in the 'Doranda Treasury case' of Jharkhand— the fifth case related to the fodder scam, along with other pending petitions.

A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi said, "We are not issuing notice, but tagging the matter with the pending similar appeals filed by the CBI".

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju and Advocate Rajat Nair sought issuance of notice in the matter, however, the bench said it will hear the matter collectively and was hesitant to issue notice.

CBI has challenged the Jharkhand High Court’s order of April 22, 2022, granting Yadav bail in the case. Yadav has been convicted in several cases involving the fodder scam but is currently out on bail due to his poor health. In the present 'Doranda Treasury case' he has been sentenced to five years in prison.

In February 2022, a Special CBI Court in Ranchi sentenced the former Chief Minister of Bihar to five years in prison and imposed a fine of Rs. 60 lakh in connection with the fifth fodder scam case, which involves embezzlement of more than Rs 139 crore by Doranda Treasury.

Background -

The fodder scam came to light in January 1996 in Bihar after a raid at the Animal Husbandry department. CBI named Lalu Prasad Yadav as an accused in June 1997. The agency framed charges against Yadav and another former chief minister.

In September 2013, the trial court convicted Yadav, and 46 others in one of the cases related to the fodder scam and Yadav was imprisoned in Ranchi jail.

In December 2013, Supreme Court granted bail to Yadav in the case, while in December 2017, the CBI court found him and 15 others guilty in another case and sent them to Birsa Munda prison. The Jharkhand high court then granted bail to Yadav in the latter case in April 2021.

Out of the original 170 accused in the case, 55 have died, seven have become government witnesses, two have accepted the charges against them and six are absconding.

Apart from Yadav, Former MP Jagdish Sharma, the then Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Dhruv Bhagat, Animal Husbandry Secretary Beck Julius and Animal Husbandry Assistant Director Dr. KM Prasad are the key accused persons in the scam.