‘Lalu Prasad’ in Turmoil, HC asks Jail Authority to Submit Report on Audio tape

RANCHI: Jharkhand High Court, on Friday has asked for a detailed report from prison authorities in the wake of reports of alleged violation of the jail manual by incarcerated RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, convicted in cases related to the fodder scam.

While hearing a case pertaining to the appeal filed by Lalu seeking squashing of his remaining jail term in connection with the Dumka treasury case involving the illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore on Friday, the court of Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh asked jail authorities to submit a report before the next hearing on December 18.

During the hearing, CBI in its plea before the court accused Lalu of using a phone despite being in jail and cited news reports of him allegedly trying to lure BJP MLAs of Bihar ahead of the Speaker’s election last month. The central agency also told the court that it had filed a fresh FIR against Lalu in this connection.

Lalu was later shifted back to the paying ward of the state-run hospital by the Ranchi district administration following widespread criticism and protests by the Opposition BJP. Citing news reports, CBI also alleged that Lalu continued to meet party workers and people whenever he wished, dubbing it a violation of jail manual.

Notably, Birsa jail authorities, in response to a showcause notice issued by Ranchi deputy commissioner Chhavi Ranjan last week, pinned the blame on Ranchi policemen on duty for the lapse. Birsa jail said ensuring security and the implementation of the jail manual outside the jail was the responsibility of district police. 

On November 27, the high court had deferred Lalu’s petition for bail and suspension of sentence. The RJD chief’s counsel, Prabhat Kumar, said in his plea for bail on health grounds that of the seven-year sentence his client was awarded in the Dumka treasury case, he had already spent 3.5 years in jail.