The Supreme Court Friday said it will hear on April 10 a plea of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav seeking bail in three cases related to the multi-crore-rupee fodder scam in which he has been convicted.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the CBI to file a reply by April 9 and said Yadav's bail plea will be taken up for the hearing next Wednesday.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo, sought urgent listing of the bail plea saying notice has been issued in the matter.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the agency needs to file a reply in the matter.
"You (CBI) file the reply by April 9. We will take up the matter (Yadav's bail plea) on April 10," the bench said.
In the previous hearing, Prasad told the top court that he has been in jail for 22 months following his conviction in the three cases.
Sibal had told the bench that Prasad was sentenced to three-and-a-half years, 14 years and five years in prison in the three cases respectively.
"I was convicted in the three cases based on the same evidence and under the same offences. I have already served 22 months in jail.
"How can I be convicted three times for the same offence, based on the same evidence?" Sibal had asked the court.
The court had then asked Sibal about the offences for which Prasad was convicted.
"I have been convicted under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) of the IPC and section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act," the lawyer had said.
The RJD chief, lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi, challenged the January 10 verdict of the Jharkhand High Court dismissing his bail plea.
The three cases in which Prasad has been convicted are related to the over-Rs 900-crore fodder scam, which pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of money from the treasuries in the Animal Husbandry department in the early 1990s when Jharkhand was part of Bihar.
The RJD was in power in Bihar with Prasad as the chief minister when the scam had allegedly taken place.
In the high court, the RJD supremo cited old age and poor health for grant of bail. Prasad (71) said he was suffering from diabetes, blood pressure and other ailments and that he had already obtained bail in one of the fodder scam cases.
He has been convicted for fraudulent withdrawal of money from the Deoghar, Dumka and two Chaibasa treasuries situated in Jharkhand.
He is currently facing trial in another fodder scam case pertaining to the Doranda treasury.
The RJD chief has been undergoing treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) at Ranchi for the last few months.
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