Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad was on Wednesday convicted in the third fodder scam case by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ranchi. He was later sentenced to five years in jail. This comes as another setback for the former Bihar chief minister, who is already serving a sentence in prison in connection with another fodder scam case. The quantum of sentence is likely to be announced on later on Wednesday.
This case pertains to the alleged fraudulent withdrawal from the Chaibasa treasury in the early 1990s. An amount of about Rs 33.7 crore was allegedly drawn against a sanction amount of just Rs 7.1 lakh.
Another former chief minister of Bihar, Jagannath Mishra, was also found guilty in the case by the special court.
Reacting to the verdict, Lalu's son and former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav said that "people of Bihar believe that Lalu ji is a hero". He alleged that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had played a role in framing Lalu Prasad in fodder scam case.
"People know how BJP, RSS and more importantly Nitish Kumar have conspired against Lalu ji. We will approach higher courts against all these verdicts," he said.
The Yadav scion added that legal options were still open for them. "This is not the final order," he said.
Lalu Prasad has already been convicted in two previous cases in the fodder scam, while Mishra was convicted in the first case.
Lalu Prasad is presently lodged in Ranchi's Birsa Munda jail. He had been convicted in the second fodder scam case on December 23, following which the court had handed him a three-and-a-half year sentence along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh on January 6.
This was his second conviction in the fodder scam, related to the fraudulent overnight withdrawal of about Rs 90 lakh from a government treasury in Deoghar, then in undivided Bihar.
His first conviction had come in September 2013, when the court handed a guilty verdict to Lalu and his predecessor, Jagannath Mishra.
Lalu had received a sentence of five years in the first case. This sentence had made him the first elected official in India to be ejected from office under the then-new changes to the anti-corruption law.
In the run-up to the sentencing in the second case, Lalu's lawyer had filed a leniency plea on the basis of his age and health problems. The lawyer had also argued that Lalu had no direct role in the second case.