|Thursday, April 6, 2000,
Rabri granted bail, Laloo sent to jail
PATNA, April 5 (PTI, UNI) Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi today got a major respite when a special court granted her bail after she and her husband Laloo Prasad Yadav surrendered shortly before non-bailable arrest warrants were to be issued against them in a disproportionate assets (DA) case.
Amidst high drama, the duo presented themselves around 8 a.m. before CBI Judge S.K. Lal who sent Mr Yadav, former Chief Minister and RJD chief, to 15 days judicial custody. He was immediately taken to the Beur jail on the outskirts of the city.
Considering the nature of allegations against Mrs Rabri Devi and her present status in society, she is granted bail, the Judge said.
The Judge, however, rejected Mr Yadavs bail plea saying the charges against him were of a very serious nature.
The court directed the Chief Minister to submit two bail bonds of Rs 1 lakh each with two sureties of the like amount for bail which she did before returning to her official residence.
The Judge yesterday had ordered issue of non-bailable arrest warrants against them after taking cognisance of the charge sheet submitted by the CBI.
The Judge, in his order detailed the allegations of amassing property worth over Rs 42 lakh disproportionate to his known sources of income against Mr Yadav.
As he was being taken to the jail, Mr Yadavs supporters raised slogans against the CBI alleging their leader was falsely implicated in the DA case.
The case (RC 5-A/98) charges Mr Yadav with having accumulated wealth more than Rs 42.5 lakh between 1990 and 1996 when he was the Chief Minister. The case was instituted by the CBI on the directive of the Patna High Court monitoring the investigation into the multi-crore fodder scam.
Mr Yadav had resigned from the post of Chief Minister and appointed Mrs Rabri Devi in his post on July 25, 1997, when the Supreme Court rejected his prayer for anticipatory bail in connection with a conspiracy angle case of the fodder scam and surrendered before the court the following day. The court had later remanded him to judicial custody.
Mr Yadav was sent to jail for the second time in October 1998 in another conspiracy angle case of the scam involving fraudulent withdrawals of more than Rs 97 lakh from Deoghar treasury.
The CBI has charged the Chief Minister with aiding and assisting Mr Yadav in amassing assets worth over Rs 42 lakh disproportionate to his known sources of income during 1990-96.
Appearing on behalf of Mr Laloo and Mrs Rabri Devi for regular bail after they surrendered before the court, senior advocate P.N. Pandey charged the CBI with having overvalued the property of the RJD chief.
He alleged that CBI had not valued the income of Mr Yadav before the check period 1990-96 when he was either a member of the state assembly or of the Lok Sabha since 1977.
He contended that the charges against the Chief Minister were fabricated and false.
He said the duo had already submitted their returns and disputed the overassessment of property by the Income Tax Department.
Opposing their bail plea, CBI special public prosecutor L.R. Ansari said the special team of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Income Tax Department had surveyed the property of Mr Yadav, which he claimed was far in excess of the known sources of his income.
He charged the Chief Minister with having submitted false returns with the Income Tax Department in order to save her husband.
Mr Ansari prayed the court to disallow their petitions for regular bail and remand them to judicial custody.
Meanwhile, the Designated CBI Judge framed the charges against former Chief Ministers Laloo Prasad Yadav and Jagannath Mishra, besides 50 others in connection with the conspiracy angle case of the multi-crore fodder scam.
Mr Yadav and Bhartiya Jan Congress chief Jagannath Mishra have been charged with having entered into criminal conspiracy, providing patronage to scamsters and misconduct in connection with the fraudulent withdrawals of more than Rs 37 crore by officials of the Animal Husbandry Department through fake and forged bills from the Chaibasa treasury.
The framing of charges against the accused, which included several MLAs and IAS officers, marks the formal commencement of the trial in the case.
The Judge framed the charges in the case no. RC 20-A/96 of the Rs 950-crore scam under Sections 420, 467, 468, 437 (A) and 120 (B) of the IPC, besides under Section 13(1) read with 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Among other accused against whom the charges were framed in the instant case are former Bihar ministers C.P. Verma, Vidyasagar Nishad, RJD MLA R.K. Rana, Independent MLA Jagdish Sharma, former MLA Dhruv Bhagat, besides senior IAS officers Mahesh Prasad, K. Arumugam, Beck Julius and Sajal Chakravorty.
Charges were also framed against suppliers and the officials of the Animal Husbandry Department made accused in the case.
Talking to reporters at the Beur jail, the RJD chief accused the BJP and the RSS of colluding with the CBI to liquidate the RJD.
He said both the BJP and the RSS were trying to remove secular leaders from the mainstream. The BJP was out to grab power, when it failed to get the mandate for ruling the state, he stated.
Maintaining that he had full faith in the judiciary, Mr Yadav said this was the reason why he decided to surrender before the court even without any summons.
Mr Yadav said his wife and state Chief Minister Rabri Devi did not have any property from 1990 to 1996, adding he had disclosed his property.
He challenged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Union Home Minister L.K. Advani and the CBI to disclose any property concealed by him.
In New Delhi, the BJP reiterated its demand that Mrs Rabri Devi should resign on moral grounds.
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