SC stays Lalu’s trial in fodder scam case

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed all proceedings related to the fodder scam cases against Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad. The cases are pending before the special judge, CBI, Ranchi, Jharkhand.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and J. Chelameswar granted the stay based on Mr. Prasad’s special leave petition against a judgment of the Jharkhand High Court refusing to stay the proceedings. The Bench issued notice, returnable on July 23, to the CBI.

Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Mr. Prasad, had alleged the likelihood of bias against his client on the part of the trial court judge and in the latter’s approach to the case.

Mr. Prasad pointed out that the presiding trial court judge’s sister, Minu Devi, was married to Jainendra Shahi, the cousin of P.K. Shahi, who had appeared for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in a “politically motivated PIL petition” and for the CBI in criminal cases against Mr. Prasad.

According to Mr. Prasad, Mr. Shahi, who contested for the Janata Dal (United) in the parliamentary by-election, was defeated by the RJD candidate. Mr. Prasad said at least three orders passed by the trial court judge “grossly” impinged on his right of defence and his fundamental right to fair trial.

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