HC reserves order against Lalu-Rabri in DA case

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Patna, Feb 18 (UNI) The Patna High Court today reserved its order on the admission of Bihar government's appeal challenging acquittal of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and his wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi in the disproportionate assets case, an off-shoot of the multi-crore fodder scam.

Justice R K Dutta reserved the order after hearing arguments of Mr Prasad and Ms Devi and the Bihar government's counsel.

Appearing for the state government, senior advocate Surendra Singh submitted before the court that the order of the lower court acquitting Mr Prasad and Ms Devi was not based on the basis of evidences presented by the CBI but it was ''influenced'' by the order of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

The trial court was not bound to go along the line of the order of ITAT and it should have given a fresh look at the case on the basis of the evidences gathered by the CBI during the investigation, the counsel added.

Earlier, senior advocate of the Supreme Court Ram Jethmalani had appeared for Mr Prasad and Ms Devi before the court.

Both Mr Prasad and Ms Devi had also raised their preliminary objection on the appeal of the state government on its maintainability, saying it (state) was not competent to file an appeal in the DA case probed by the CBI--an agency of the Central government.

Rejecting preliminary objection raised by Mr Prasad and Ms Devi, the court on September 12, 2007 had ruled that the state appeal against the duo was maintainable.

The CBI had registered the case against Mr Prasad on August 19, 1998. The investigating agency had charged Mr Prasad with amassing property worth Rs 42 lakh disproportionate to his known sources of income during 1990-97, while Ms Devi had abetted the offence of her husband.

UNI XC-KKS KK HS BD1748

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