HC reserves order on petition against Lalu-Rabri in DA case

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

Justice R K Dutta reserved the order after hearing arguments of the Bihar government counsel and Lalu-Rabri duo. Appearing for the state government, senior advocate Surendra Singh submitted before the Court that order of the lower court acquitting Mr Prasad and former chief minister Ms Rabri Devi, was not based on the basis of evidences presented by the CBI rather it was influenced by 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 fresh look 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 Rabri Devi before the court.

Both Mr Prasad and Ms Rabri 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 obejection raised by Lalu-Rabri duo earlier, the Court on September 12, 2007 had ruled that the state appeal against Lalu-Rabri duo was maintainable.

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 Bihar Chief Minister and Ms Rabri Devi had abetted the offence of her husband.

UNI

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