Laloo's remand raises legal questions
By J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI, JAN. 1. Even as the CBI is contemplating filing some more chargesheets relating to the fodder scam cases against the RJD leader and former Bihar Chief Minister, Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav, his remand to judicial custody again last week despite the Supreme Court granting him bail in similar cases has given rise to several legal questions.
While eminent lawyers accused the BJP Government of ``harassing'' the Opposition, the CBI justified the remand, stating that each chargesheet stood on a different footing.
According to the CBI, although the fodder scam cases were related, separate chargesheets had been filed because the transactions were different. When each chargesheet was taken cognisance of, it was for the trial court to grant bail or send Mr. Yadav to judicial custody. The investigating agency had no role to play.
It may be recalled that the Apex Court had, on December 14, granted bail to Mr. Yadav, holding that he had already undergone pre-trial detention for more than nine months in these cases. The court agreed with the contention that all the cases were the offshoot of the same conspiracy. But soon after his release, Mr. Yadav was sent to judicial custody in a few other cases.
Mr. Rajeev Dhavan, senior advocate, was of the view that Mr. Yadav's remand in related fodder scam cases was nothing but ``legal quibble'' and ``absurd''.
It had given rise to the suspicion that the CBI was acting at the instance of the powers that be in Delhi.
If the Supreme Court had come to the conclusion that Mr. Yadav could be released on bail, the order of the trial court remanding him to judicial custody was improper.
The personal liberty of an individual could be curtailed only if there were compelling circumstances. Mr. Yadav's incarceration was unwarranted, he said.
Mr. R.K. Anand, senior lawyer and Congress MP, said it was ``unfortunate'' that a political leader was being put behind bars for a single type of offence by filing a number of chargesheets.
He felt that it was abuse of the process of law by the BJP Government at the Centre.
Though there may be a series of transactions, all of them must be treated as one since they were identical cases. Mr. Yadav must be granted bail, said Mr. Anand.
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