DA case: No acquittal order for Lalu-Rabri

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Patna, Sep 12: Patna High Court today reserved its order on ''admission for hearing''- the appeal filed by the Bihar government challenging the acquittal of RJD president and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi, former chief minister of Bihar, by a lower court in disproportionate assest case on December 18, 2006.

Justice R K Datta reserved the order after hearing arguments of the petitioner and respondents.

Appearing for Mr Prasad and Ms Rabri Devi,senior advocate of Supreme Court Ram Jethmalani submitted that the state government had no right to file an appeal challenging the acquittal in the case investigated by CBI.Under the Delhi Police Establishment Act, the Union government was competent authority to challenge the acquittal of the accused in such cases,he added.

''The case was investigated by CBI on the directive of Patna High Court so the state government had no right to file appeal in such case,'' he pointed out.

Mr Jethmalani further contended that the appeal of the Bihar government was also not maintainable as it was against the criminal procedure code.The ground on which the lower court had acquitted Lalu-Rabri duo was ''impeccable'' and it could not be challenged, he emphasised.

During his submission before the court, Solicitor General of India Ghulam Vahnawatt endorsed the arguments of Mr Jethmalani and said the government totally agreed with the points raised by him.

Senior advocate Surendra Prasad, counsel of the Bihar government, submitted before the court the concerned disproportionate asset(DA) case was Lalu-Rabri Vs Bihar government and as such the state government had every right to file an appeal challenging their acuittal by the lower court.The petition challenging the acquittal in cases investigated by the local police or state Criminal Investigation Department could be filed by the state government but if the cases were investigated by CBI, it could be filed by the Centre in addition to the state government, he observed.

The Bihar government had filed a petition in Patna High Court on February 19,2007 challenging the acquital of Lalu-Rabri duo by the lower court in DA case,an off-shoot of much hyped fodder scam on December 18, 2006.The case was adjourned earlier on several occasions. After filing of the petition by the state government, the High Court had issued notices to Mr Prasad and Ms Rabri Devi to explain their positions on why appeal against them should not be admitted for hearing.


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