Ranchi: A special CBI court in Ranchi is set to deliver on Saturday the quantum of sentence in connection with 1996 fodder scam case in which former Bihar chief minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and 15 others have been convicted. On December 23, 2017, the Special CBI court here had convicted Lalu in connection with the case following which the veteran Bihar politician was sent to Birsa Munda prison in Ranchi. The court, however, acquitted former chief minister of Bihar and Lalu’s predecessor Jagannath Mishra and six others in connection with the case.
The case was unearthed in 1996 after Amit Khare, Deputy Commissioner of Chaibasa, conducted a raid at the Animal Husbandry Department. The infamous fodder scam case has haunted Bihar's most powerful political family for over two decades and expected to reach its logical conclusion.
Here are the key facts and timeline of the fodder scam case:-
January 1996: The scam surfaces after deputy commissioner Amit Khare raids the offices of the Animal Husbandry Department and seizes documents that showed siphoning of funds by non-existent companies in the name of supplying fodder
March 11, 1996: The Patna High Court directs the CBI to probe the scam. The Supreme Court upholds the order.
March 27, 1996: The CBI registers an FIR in the Chaibasa Treasury fraudulent withdrawal case.
June 23, 1997: The CBI files a chargesheet and names Lalu Prasad and 55 others as accused in the case. 63 cases were registered under IPC Sections 420 (forgery) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and Section 13 (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
July 30, 1997: Lalu Prasad surrenders before a CBI court and sent to judicial custody.
April 5, 2000: Charges framed before the special CBI court. Rabri Devi’s name is included as a co-accused, but she is granted bail. Lalu Prasad’s bail plea rejected and he is remanded in judicial custody.
October 5, 2001: The Supreme Court transfers the scam cases to Jharkhand after the creation of the new state.
February 2002: Trial begins in the Ranchi special CBI court.
December 2006: Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi acquitted of charges in the disproportionate assets case filed by the CBI.
June 2007: The special CBI court in Ranchi sentences 58 persons, including two nephews of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, to jail terms ranging from two-and-a-half years to six years for fraudulently withdrawing Rs 48 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury in the 1990s.
March 2012: Six months after their appearance before the Special CBI court, charges are framed against Lalu Prasad and Mishra. The court charges the former with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 47 lakh from the treasuries at Banka and Bhagalpur districts, wherein forged and fake bills were drawn by the Animal Husbandry Department in 1995-96 when he was the Chief Minister
August 13, 2013: The Supreme Court rejects Lalu Prasad’s plea seeking the transfer of the trial court judge hearing the case.
September 17, 2013: The Special CBI court reserves its judgement.
September 30, 2013: Lalu Prasad and Mishra along with 45 others are convicted by Special CBI Judge Pravas Kumar Singh. Lalu Prasad stands disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha following the verdict. The two cannot contest any election, including that of the Assembly/Council for six years from the date of their release from jail.
November 2014: The CBI challenges the order of the Jharkhand High Court quashing four pending fodder scam cases against Lalu Prasad on the grounds that a person convicted in one case could not be tried in similar cases based on same witnesses and evidence. The court upholds the CBI plea to continue proceedings in the trial court against Lalu Prasad under two sections.
November 2016: The Supreme Court pulls up Mishra for allegedly dragging and delaying the appeal filed by the CBI, challenging the quashing of four pending fodder scam cases against him.
May 2017: The Supreme Court holds that Lalu Prasad and other accused persons, including Mishra, will be tried separately for corruption in a criminal case involving the withdrawal of Rs 84.53 lakh and falsification of records from the Deoghar Treasury in 1991-94.
December 13, 2017: Hearing of case number RC-64A/96 completed in the CBI court of Shivpal Singh.
December 23, 2017: The special CBI court convicts Lalu Prasad and 15 others in connection with the case. Lalu was taken into custody and sent to Birsa Munda Jail in Ranchi.
January 6, 2018: Special court to pronounce the quantum of sentence in the case.