In a major blow to Rashtriya Janata Dal president and former Bihar chief minister Laloo Prasad Yadav, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to grant him bail and directed him to surrender before a special court at Ranchi, Jharkhand, on November 26 in connection with the fodder scam.
Despite repeated pleas by Yadav's counsel that if the apex court did not grant him bail, the trial court would put him in jail, a three-judge bench comprising Justices K T Thomas, S S M Qadri and U C Banerjee, said he could apply for bail after surrendering.
The court, however, restrained the Central Bureau of Investigation from arresting Yadav till he appears before the Ranchi court.
The bench passed similar orders with regard to the cases transferred to Jharkhand in which another former chief minister Jagannath Misra is an accused.
When Kapil Sibal, the counsel, said that if the trial court did not decide the bail application on the day of Yadav's appearance, it would create difficulties for the former chief minister, the bench ordered the special court to decide the matter the same day.
The bench, however, refused to arm him with a blanket bail order, though Sibal pointed out that the allegations made in all 36 cases transferred by the Supreme Court to Jharkhand were identical to those in cases pending before the Patna special court, which has already granted bail to Yadav.
When Sibal pressed his point for grant of bail in the Jharkhand cases, Solicitor General Harish Salve, appearing for the CBI, countered that this would mean the Supreme Court did not believe that the trial court at Ranchi would act in accordance with the law.
The Supreme Court, on July 23, had stayed Yadav's arrest in cases relating to his alleged role in the multi-million-rupee fodder scam being tried in Bihar and Jharkhand.
On October 5, the Supreme Court had ordered the transfer of all 36 fodder scam cases, including those against Yadav, from Bihar to Jharkhand, while ruling that courts in the new state alone had the jurisdiction to try these cases.
After the order was pronounced, Sibal said, "On November 26, Yadav will go to jail, as the chief minister of Jharkhand has been making statements to this effect."
The bench retorted: "You mean to say the courts in Jharkhand will be influenced by the statements of the chief minister?"
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