Fodder scam case: Sentencing for Lalu, others deferred till tomorrow

The RJD chief and 14 others were convicted in the fodder scam case by the special CBI court on December 23.

Fodder scam case: Sentencing for Lalu, others deferred till tomorrow

The special CBI court in Ranchi will announce the quantum of sentence for Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and others convicted in fodder scam case on Thursday. The announcement was deferred by the court reportedly because of the demise of a lawyer, Vindeshwari Prasad.

The RJD chief and 14 others were convicted in the fodder scam case by the special CBI court on December 23, following which Lalu was taken into custody and sent to Birsa Munda central jail in the Jharkhand capital.

While Lalu was convicted in the scam by the court, former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra as well as six others were acquitted.

Reacting to his conviction, the RJD chief had said that Lalu was not alone in the “dharma yudh” and that entire Bihar stood with him.

"Truth can be made to appear as a lie, as ambiguous or a half lie by concerted onslaught of bias driven propaganda. But blurred layer of bias and hatred will still be removed, come what may! In end Truth will win. A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. ....But still prevails...In the end though," Lalu tweeted.

The RJD chief also claimed that he is being deliberately punished by people in the 'powerful classes'. "Powerful people and powerful classes always managed to divide society into ruling and the ruled classes. And whenever anyone from the lower hierarchy challenged this unjust order, they would be deliberately punished," he said.

In October 2013, when he was first convicted in a related fodder scam case, he had to spend two months in jail before he got bail from the Supreme Court.

In this case, Lalu Yadav faced accusations that as the chief minister and finance minister back in the nineties, he kept the file for an inquiry against the mastermind of the scam pending for 16 months and gave three other officials extensions despite objections from bureaucrats.

Lalu was aware of the scam but allowed the loot to continue by his inaction, the CBI had alleged.

The hearing in the case concluded on December 13 and all accused were asked to remain present in court for the judgement.

Earlier, Lalu Prasad was convicted and sentenced to five-year imprisonment in one of the five cases for which he is being tried in the fodder scam.

However, the Jharkhand High Court in 2014 gave relief to the former Bihar Chief Minister and others by dropping charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and prevention of corruption. 

The court had quashed the cases on the grounds that a person convicted in one case could not be tried in similar cases based on same witnesses and evidence.

In May 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that Lalu Yadav will have to stand trial in all the fodder scam cases, setting aside the high court order that dropped cases charges against the former Bihar chief minister.

The former chief minister of Bihar had been charged in several cases related to the scam, in which Rs 900 crore were embezzled from the state exchequer for fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle over a period of 20 years. 

The CBI began probing the case in 1996.

Over 50 cases were registered for embezzlement of funds on the pretext of buying fodder for cattle, among others.

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