RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s health deteriorates

Imprisoned Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)president Lalu Prasad on Saturday was shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi for better treatment as his health deteriorated at the Ranchi-based Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS). Mr. Prasad, convicted in several cases related to the fodder scam, was undergoing treatment for multiple diseases at RIMS.

“Lalu Prasad is having trouble breathing for the last two days. On Friday, he was found to be having pneumonia. Considering his age (72), we have decided to shift him to AIIMS-Delhi, on the advice of a panel of doctors, for better treatment,” RIMS Director Dr. Kameshwar Prasad told mediapersons.

The former Bihar chief minister was sent to the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi in December 2017 after his conviction in the fodder scam that took place in the 1990s, when hundreds of crores of rupees were fraudulently withdrawn from the treasuries of several districts of Jharkhand, then part of undivided Bihar.

Later, he was admitted to the paying ward of RIMS for medical attention. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Prasad was shifted to the hospital Director’s residence, known as Kelly Bungalow, to protect him from the coronavirus pandemic. However, he was brought back to the paying ward on November 26, 2020, following an allegation that he was violating jail manuals, allegedly by making phone calls to ruling party MLAs to seek their help in defeating the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate for the Bihar Assembly Speaker’s post.

Jail authorities, too, gave the required approval to shift Mr. Prasad urgently to AIIMS-Delhi for better treatment. Mr. Prasad, along with his wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi, left for AIIMS-Delhi by an air ambulance on Saturday evening. Both his sons, elder daughter Misa Bharti, party leaders and supporters, came to RIMS to see him off and to wish him a speedy recovery.

On Friday, RJD leader and Mr. Prasad’s younger son Tejashwi Yadav had met Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren at his residence and sought the help of the State government in making arrangements for shifting his father to Delhi.

On the same day, the Jharkhand High Court heard about the violation of the jail manual by Mr. Prasad while he was admitted at RIMS, and pulled up the hospital authorities, jail administration and State government for the lapses. The case will be next heard on February 5.

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