A special CBI court today announced a 5-year jail sentence and Rs 60 lakh fine for Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fifth fodder scam case.
Lalu Yadav was declared guilty on February 15. Of the 99 accused in the case, 24 were acquitted, while three-year jail terms were pronounced for 46 accused.
Yadav has been found guilty of illegal withdrawals of Rs 139.35 crore from the Doranda treasury by a special CBI court in Jharkhand’s Ranchi.
Lalu Prasad has been sentenced in four fodder scam cases. This case (RC 47A/97) was the fifth and final one and the biggest of these pertaining to a fodder scam in which 139 crore 35 lakh was illegally withdrawn.
The Rs 950-crore scam relates to the fraudulent withdrawal of public funds from government treasuries in various districts of undivided Bihar.
Of the original 170 accused in the matter, 55 have died, 7 have become government witnesses, 2 have accepted the charges against them and six are absconding. 99 accused including Lalu Prasad Yadav are left against whom the court gave the verdict on February 15.
The scam comes into light after a raid conducted by Deputy Commissioner of Chaibasa Amit Khare at the Animal Husbandry Department in January 1996. CBI was roped in by the Patna High Court in March 1996 after increasing pressure to investigate the case. The CBI registers an FIR in the case at the time when both Bihar and Jharkhand were a unified state.
In June 1997, Lalu Prasad was named an accused in the case for the first time in the chargesheet filed by the CBI.
Following the chargesheet and mounting pressure from the Opposition, Lalu resigned as the chief minister after which he made his wife Rabri Devi the Chief Minister of the state and silently controlled the politics in Bihar in July 1997.
Due to the bifurcation of Bihar and the formation of a new state, Jharkhand, the case is transferred to the Jharkhand High Court in October 2001. Special CBI court begins trial in the fodder scam case from February 2002. Prasad’s first conviction came in September 2013, in the Chaibasa treasury case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.70 crore.
He was handed over five years in prison leading to his disqualification from the Lok Sabha membership. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in December that year.
The RJD’s supremo’s trouble renewed again in 2017 when a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in December 2017, had convicted him in the second scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar treasury.
Prasad was sentenced to 3.5 years of jail term in this case. He was, however, granted bail in July last year after completing half of the 3.5 years’ sentence.
The former chief minister’s third conviction came in January 2018, in the Chaibasa treasury case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.13 crore. He was awarded five years of imprisonment in this case.
Two months later, the special CBI court in March 2018, had held Prasad guilty under conspiracy and corruption charges in the scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.76 crore from Dumka treasury from December 1995, to January 1996. It had handed him 14 years in prison and slapped a fine of Rs 60 lakh on him.