‘Broken all records’: BJP takes a dig at Lalu Prasad’s 2-year hospital stay

Convicted in fodder scam cases, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad has been under treatment at Jharkhand’s premier Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) for more than two years, longest time for any patient to be in this hospital, prompting the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party to demand that Prasad be sent back to jail.

The BJP has accused the RJD chief of breaking all records of staying in hospital as a patient and demanded his immediate shifting to the jail hospital. On the other hand, the RJD said the BJP was suffering from Lalu phobia in wake of Bihar elections.

The former Bihar chief minister, who was shifted to RIMS at the end of August 2018, had been under treatment at the paying ward of the RIMS till August 5, when he was shifted to RIMS director’s bungalow, also known as Kelly’s Bungalow, in wake of rising Covid-19 cases and shortage of beds at RIMS, hospital authorities said.

RIMS’ deputy superintendent, Dr Sanjay Kumar, when asked about the longest stay of a patient for treatment in the hospital, said, “As per my information, Lalu Prasad has been undergoing treatment for more than two years, which is the longest time for any patient.”

Though Prasad has been suffering from many diseases, the primary concern is his ‘Type 2’ diabetes and hypertension. He is a chronic kidney patient. On Prasad’s current health status, senior doctor Umesh Prasad, who is treating the RJD chief, said, “His condition is stable right now. However, his sugar level did fluctuate on Tuesday,” he said.

Before Prasad, state’s former water resource minister Kamlesh Singh, facing a disproportionate asset case lodged by the CBI, had undergone a prolonged treatment in custody for more than a year in RIMS.

The former Bihar chief minister has been in jail since December 23, 2017, after his conviction in the fodder scam cases. After two months, he developed health complications and was shifted to RIMS and then to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. He was referred back to RIMS after AIIMS declared him fit in May, 2018.

After his return to RIMS, Prasad got parole for three days on May 10 to attend his elder son’s wedding. Thereafter, he was then enlarged on provisional bail granted by the Jharkhand High Court for advance treatment at a Mumbai-based hospital in June 2018. He returned to RIMS at the end of August, 2018. Since then, he is under treatment at RIMS. Lalu has spent only two of the 35 months since his conviction in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Jail.

Prasad has paid more than Rs 7 lakh to RIMS administration as charge of paying ward. The RIMS administration will soon fix the rate for Kelly’s Bungalow, where he is currently undergoing treatment.

The RIMS deputy superintendent said, “Even though the rate has not yet been finalised, we are working on a proposal seeking rent of Rs 5,000 per day for the bungalow. The committee will soon hold a meeting to finalise the rate and the fixed charge would be realised from Prasad.”

Jharkhand BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo said, “Prasad has broken all records of staying in a hospital for the longest time. If he can be treated at RIMS director’s bungalow, what is the problem to treat him in jail hospital? Overall, RIMS is not a super-specialty hospital. Actually, he was shifted to the bungalow by the Hemant Soren government in view of Bihar election. The accommodation has now turned as RJD headquarter for the Bihar election.”

RJD’s Jharkhand president Abhay Singh said, “BJP is suffering from Lalu phobia. RJD chief has respect for jail manuals and court in true spirit. Actually, BJP’s position has turned weak in Bihar. So, they are making illogical statements in frustration.”

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