Lalu Yadav sentenced to 14 years in jail in fourth fodder scam
24 March 2018
Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was on Saturday sentenced to 14 years in jail and fined Rs60 lakh by a special CBI court in the fourth fodder scam case.
|Lalu Prasad Yadav|
The sentence related to the fourth fodder scam and the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs3.13 crore from the Dumka treasury in the 1990s.
The RJD leader was given two sentences of seven years each under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Acts. Lalu Prasad has been in jail at Ranchi since December last year after being convicted in the second fodder scam case.
He is currently undergoing treatment at a Ranchi hospital after he complained of chest pain last week.
While Lalu Yadav was found guilty of the charges, another former chief minister of Bihar, Jagannath Mishra, was acquitted by the CBI court.
Lalu Prasad’s counsel said on Saturday that he would appeal in a higher court.
The former Bihar chief minister was convicted in the first scam in 2013 and awarded a five-year jail term. Last December he was given a three-and-a-half year sentence in the second fodder scam.
In January, he was given another five-year jail term in the third fodder scam.
The scandal came to light in 1996 following a raid by the Deputy Commissioner of Chaibasa, Amit Khare, at the Bihar Animal Husbandry Department. In 1997, Lalu Prasad was charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act in connection with the fodder scam.
The CBI, which was investigating allegations of misappropriations of treasury funds to non-existent companies for purchase and supply of cattle fodder in Bihar, had found alleged irregularities worth Rs 950 crore, forcing Lalu Prasad to resign as the chief minister of Bihar, anointing his wife Rabri Devi as CM.
Under pressure from critics in his party, the Janata Dal, he quit and floated his own party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
The CBI has filed 63 cases under IPC Sections 420 (forgery) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and Section 13 (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Lalu Prasad Yadav was first convicted in 2013 in the first fodder scam case and awarded five years in jail. The court charged Lalu Prasad with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs47 lakh from the treasuries at Banka and Bhagalpur districts, where alleged forged bills were drawn by the Animal Husbandry Department in 1995-96 when he was the CM.
The conviction also barred Lalu Prasad from contesting elections for 11 years in line with the Supreme Court order disqualifying convicts jailed for more than two years from contesting for six years after completion of their sentence. Later, he had got bail in the case.
His next conviction came in 2017, months after current Bihar chief minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar walked out from an alliance with Lalu Prasad and joined hands with the BJP to form a new government.
In December Lalu Prasad was convicted in the second fodder scam case, which pertained to fraudulent withdrawal of money amounting to over Rs89 lakh from Deoghar treasury between 1991 and 1994 when he was the chief minister and also handled the finance portfolio.
In this case he was sentenced by a special CBI court to three-and-a-half years of rigorous imprisonment, while his predecessort Jagannath Misra was acquitted. The court also imposed a cumulative fine of Rs5 lakh in connection with charges under the Indian Penal Code and Rs5 lakh pertaining to charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
A month later he was convicted in the third fodder scam case, on 25 January 2018, in a case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs37.62 crore from the treasury of Chaibasa (now in Jharkhand) – in 1992-93.
This time Jagannath Mishra was also convicted. Both Lalu and Mishra were sentenced to five-year rigorous imprisonment under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, along with a cumulative fine of Rs 10 lakh.
A special CBI court will pronounce its judgment in the fifth fodder scam, pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs47.5 crore from the Doranda treasury in the '90s, in the months ahead.