Fodder Scam: Lalu Yadav sentenced to 3.5 years in jail and Rs 5 lakh fine

DN Bureau

Lalu Prasad Yadav sentenced to 3.5 years in jail and Rs 5 lakh fine by Ranchi Court.

RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav appearing in CBI Court in Ranchi on 3 January
RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav appearing in CBI Court in Ranchi on 3 January

Ranchi: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Saturday sentenced former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad to 3.5 years of jail in a fodder scam case.

He has also been slapped with a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

Lalu has been sentenced in the case relating to embezzling of more than Rs 89 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.  The Special CBI judge Shivpal Singh pronounced quantum of sentence via video conferencing. The court also said if he fails to furnish the fine, his jail term would extend by six months.

Apart from Lalu, Mishra and 20 others accused were present in the court when the quantum of sentence was pronounced. There were tight security arrangements outside the court.

On December 3, the court had pronounced Lalu and 14 others guilty in the case. Seven other accused were acquitted including former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra.

Lalu Prasad had, on Friday, sought a minimum punishment citing health issues. In his plea, Lalu mentioned, "I have no role in this scam directly; consider minimum punishment keeping in view my age and on health grounds."

The court was scheduled to pronounce quantum of sentence on January 3, but it continued to be deferred till today. The court had also found Lalu's son Tejasvi Yadav and other party leaders Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Manoj Jha guilty of contempt of court.

Special CBI judge Shivpal Singh had, on Tuesday, observed he got phone calls from Lalu Prasad Yadav's men, in connection with his conviction in the fodder scam case.

The judge also accused Lalu's family members - his sons, Tej Pratap and Tejashwi - of mouthing casteist statements.

The judge added, "Laluji, we are getting a lot of references and calls for you, but I told your men that I will take the decision the way I want to, following the law."

Lalu has already been convicted in another fodder scam - Chaibasa treasury - case in which he is out on bail but the conviction cost him his Lok Sabha seat. He has been disqualified from contesting elections. The Chaibasa treasury case in the 1990s involves fraudulent withdrawal to the tune of Rs 37.7 crore.

The fodder scam involved the embezzlement of about Rs 900 crore from the Bihar exchequer.

The corruption scheme involved the fabrication of 'vast herds of fictitious livestock for which fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured over a period of 20 years'. Of the 34 people initially accused in the case, 11 died during the course of trial, while one turned approver and admitted to the crime.

The scam came to light in 1996. 

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