Apex court adjourns hearing on Lalu’s plea in wealth case

August 1st, 2008 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday adjourned hearing on two lawsuits questioning the Bihar government’s power to challenge the acquittal of Railways Minister Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi by a state trial court from the charges of owning wealth exceeding his legal income. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan adjourned hearing on the lawsuits on a plea by the Bihar government seeking time to file its reply to the petitions.

While adjourning the matter, the bench, which also included Justice C.K. Thakkar and Justice P. Sathasivam, ordered its listing for final disposal after four weeks.

The minister along with his wife and the Central Bureau of Investigation had moved the apex court last October questioning the Bihar government’s appeal, pending with the Patna High Court, challenging their acquittal by the state’s special CBI court.

The couple was acquitted of all charges in the seven-year-old disproportionate assets case by Special CBI Judge Muni Lal Paswan Dec 18, 2006.

Lalu was accused by the CBI of amassing property worth Rs.4.6 million above his known sources of income between 1990 and 1997 during his tenure as Bihar chief minister while his wife was charged with abetting him in the alleged crime. The case was an offshoot of Bihar’s fodder scam.

The Bihar government has challenged the acquittal of Lalu Prasad and his wife contending that owing to a Congress-led government at the centre which enjoys the support of the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal, the CBI was not keen to challenge the acquittal.

But CBI, alongwith Lalu Prasad and his wife, came to the apex court contending that the Bihar government has no statutory power to interfere with a case probed and prosecuted by the CBI.

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