The Jharkhand High Court on Friday deferred the bail plea hearing of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in a fodder scam case by six weeks, PTI reported.
The hearing was adjourned as Yadav’s lawyer had sought six weeks’ time on Thursday to reply to a supplementary affidavit filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation and to also collect verified documents on the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief’s judicial custody. The CBI counsel agreed with the proposal and the court posted the matter for hearing on February 2021.
In its supplementary affidavit, the CBI contended that Prasad has violated jail manual norms. The central agency also said that Yadav’s health condition was stable and that he should be shifted from Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi to Birsa Munda jail to serve his remaining sentence.
However, some reports said the hearing was deferred because Yadav has not completed half of his sentence, which is mandatory for early release. According to the Hindustan Times, the RJD chief had sought bail in the Dumka Treasury case, claiming that he has served half of his seven-year sentence.
The CBI, however, said that Yadav has completed only 34 months and some days in custody, which is eight months short of the requisite time period. Yadav’s lawyer then sought six weeks to submit a detailed computation of the period served by the RJD chief in custody with certified copies of the court’s order sheets.
“According to our calculation, he has completed 42 months and 28 days in prison,” Yadav’s lawyer said. “On the next date, we will furnish certified copies of court order sheets in support of our claim. From these order sheets, it can be easily computed how many days he has spent in jail in different periods in this case.”
Yadav has been in jail since December 2017 after being convicted in multiple cases in the fodder scam that was exposed in 1996, involving the embezzlement of around Rs 1,000 crore from the state exchequer for the purchase of fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle. He was the chief minister of the state at the time. The case for which his bail plea is pending involves the embezzlement of Rs 3.5 crore from the Dumka treasury by Bihar’s Animal Husbandry Department officials between 1991 and 1996 during Yadav’s tenure.