Setback for Lalu: Plea to transfer fodder scam case dismissed

Ranchi, July 1 (IANS) The Jharkhand High Court Monday dismissed a petition filed by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad seeking transfer of a fodder scam from a CBI court. The verdict in the case is to be pronounced July 15.

"The Jharkhand High Court dismissed the petition seeking transfer from the CBI court," Lalu Prasad's lawyer said.

Lalu Prasad, in his petition, sought the transfer of fodder scam case number RC 20A/96 from the CBI court of Pravas Kumar Singh in Ranchi, alleging that the judge was a relative of Janata Dal-United leader and Bihar Education Minister P.K. Sahi.

The hearing in the case has been completed and the judge has fixed July 15 for the verdict.

The court also directed all the 45 accused to remain present in the court on July 15.

The case is related to alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.70 crore from the Chaibasa treasury of undivided Bihar and which is now a part of Jharkhand. Lalu Prasad was then the Bihar chief minister. Among the 45 accused is Jagannath Mishra, also a former Bihar chief minister.

The July 15 verdict will be the first in the five cases - out of a total of 61 - involving Lalu Prasad and Mishra.

Lalu Prasad had quit as Bihar chief minister in 1997 when his name figured in the CBI investigations into the case.

The Rs.900 crore fodder scam first surfaced in 1996 when large amounts were found to have been disbursed from the Bihar state exchequer for purchasing fodder and medicines for non-existent livestock.

Around 54 of the 61 cases were transferred to Jharkhand when it was carved out of Bihar in November 2000.

Different CBI courts have passed judgment in 43 cases.

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