HC seeks report on shifting of Lalu to hosp director's bungalow from ward and back

HC seeks report on shifting of Lalu to hosp directors bungalow from ward and back

Ranchi: The Jharkhand High Court on Friday sought a report from the state government on who ordered the transfer of jailed RJD president Lalu Prasad to the director's bungalow of a Ranchi hospital from its paying ward in August and shifting him back there recently.

The court directed the state government to file the report by December 18.

Prasad, who was convicted in fodder scam cases, was undergoing treatment in the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) for multiple ailments.

The former Bihar chief minister was transferred from the paying ward of the RIMS to its directors residence, known as Kelly Bungalow, in August to protect him from exposure to coronavirus.

However, he was brought back to the paying ward on November 26, following an allegation that the RJD boss, violating jail manuals, called up a Bihar BJP MLA seeking his help in defeating the NDA candidate for assembly Speaker's post.

The single bench of Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh also sought to know from the government the process of appointing 'sevadar' (helper) for Prasad in the hospital.

During the hearing of a case involving Prasad's alleged misuse of facilities at RIMS, the state's Additional Advocate General Ashutosh Anand submitted that there is a standard procedure (SOP) for the inmates in judicial custody, under which their security is arranged and meeting visitors is decided.

The RJD leader is currently in judicial custody in one fodder scam case. He has secured bail in other cases related to the scam.

Facing a number of questions from the bench on the matter, the additional advocate general sought time to file a detailed report.

The court then asked the government to file it by December 18.

The Jharkhand government on November 25 ordered a probe into the allegation that Prasad, violating the jail manual, telephoned Bihar BJP MLA Lalan Kumar Paswan, asking him to abstain from voting during the Speaker's election on the previous day.

An audio clip of the the purported phone call had been shared by senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on his Twitter handle.

In Jharkhand, the RJD is part of the JMM-led ruling coalition which also has the Congress.

Prasad, who also served as the Railway minister in the UPA-I government, has been behind bars since December, 2017 in cases related to the fodder scam in the 1990s in undivided Bihar, when money was fraudulently withdrawn from treasuries in the name of supplying fodder to animals.

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