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HC admits Bihar government's appeal against Lalu-Rabri
March 20, 2008 12:54 IST
In a setback to Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi, the Patna high court on Thursday admitted for hearing the appeal by Bihar government challenging their acquittal in a disproportionate assets case, an off-shoot of the multi-crore rupees fodder scam.
Justice R K Dutta, who had on February 18 reserved the order on conclusion of arguments on the admissibility of the state government's appeal, admitted it for hearing and called for documents from the special CBI court which had acquitted the duo.
Arguing on behalf of the duo, who had contested the state government's competence to move an appeal against the acquittal, noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani had on January 28 described the National Democratic Alliance government's appeal as having arisen "unquestionably out of political vendetta".
Senior Supreme Court lawyer and state counsel Surendra Singh had, however, countered the charge, saying the trial court had not relied on evidences produced by the prosecution (CBI) in support of the DA case against the duo.
"Instead, the CBI court seems to have been influenced by the income tax appellate tribunal's order exonerating the couple of the charge of amassing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income," he had pleaded.
That order "should not be binding", Singh argued and urged the court to set aside the CBI court's order.
Jethmalani then said, even the informant in the case, CBI Dy SP R K Kharagwal, on whose statement the FIR was registered on August 18, 1998, had during the course of cross examination said he did not know why his name figured in the investigation and that he was not aware of any facts in the case.