Jail for Lalu Prasad? Ranchi special court to pronounce quantum of sentence in fodder scam case today

The 69-year-old RJD leader is lodged in the central jail since his conviction on December 23. 

Jail for Lalu Prasad? Ranchi special court to pronounce quantum of sentence in fodder scam case today

PATNA: The special CBI court in Ranchi will pronounce the quantum of sentence for Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and 15 other convicts in a fodder scam case on Saturday. 

Fodder scam: Here are the key facts and timeline of the case

Special judge Shivpal Singh was scheduled to pronounce the quantum of sentence on Wednesday but deferred after condoling the death of two lawyers, who passed away recently.

On Friday, Lalu appeared before the court of CBI special judge Shiv Pal Singh for the sentencing hearing through video conferencing from Birsa Munda central jail and in a written plea sought leniency due to his illness and old age, his counsel Chittaranjan Prasad said. 

The 69-year-old RJD leader is lodged in the central jail since his conviction on December 23. 

"The judge said he would pronounce the judgement at 2:00 pm on January 6," Chittaranjan Prasad told reporters after emerging from the video conferencing hall here. 

The court had convicted Lalu Prasad for offences of cheating with criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act. 

According to legal experts, Lalu Prasad would be able to apply for bail immediately at the lower court itself if the quantum of sentence happens to be less than three years.

Earlier, he was awarded five years imprisonment in 2013 in a case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.61 crore from the Chaibasa treasury. 

The RJD supremo was later released on bail granted by the Supreme Court. 

Lalu faces another three fodder scam cases for illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.97 crore from the Dumka Treasury, Rs 36 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury and Rs 184 crore from the Doranda treasury. 

Meanwhile, the CBI court issued notices to senior RJD leader and party vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Leader of the Opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejaswi Yadav, senior party leader Shivanand Tiwari and Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari for 'contempt of court'. They had made comments against the verdict of the court on December 23. 

"All four have been issued notices as the court has found their comments on the verdict as contempt", Prabhat Kumar, a lawyer for Lalu Prasad told journalists in Ranchi.

"I do not know about the court's summon…when I'll receive it, I will reply to it", said Raghuvansh Prasad Singh who was present at the court premises.

The case pertained to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 84.5 lakh from the Deoghar district (now in Jharkhand) treasury between 1994 and 1996 when Lalu Prasad was the Bihar Chief Minister.

The special CBI court of Justice Shivpal Singh completed the hearing in the case RC 64(A) / 1996 on December 13.

Six others, including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra, were, acquitted in the case.

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