Patna: One could call it jail bharo, Lalu style. To ensure that his jail yatra in BJP-ruled Jharkhand neither dented his lifestyle nor put him at any serious discomfort, RJD president and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had made arrangements for his helper and masseur-cum-cook to land in prison hours before his own grand arrival in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda central jail on December 23, 2017, in connection with a fodder scam case.

Helper Lakshman Mahto and masseur-cum-cook Madan Yadav turned themselves in voluntarily on December 23, 2017, over an allegedly fudged theft and assault case registered against them by their neighbour.

Sources said that the two have allegedly been personally attending to him inside the jail since December 23, the day the RJD chief was convicted and sent to prison in the Deoghar treasury fodder scam case. While the ruling JD(U) and the BJP have cried foul, sources said that the timing of the leak about Lalu Yadav’s “jail luxury” is meant to have an adverse impact on his bid to seek bail from the Jharkhand high court in the next few days.

The JD(U) and the BJP also demanded a high-level probe to find out the “real truth” behind Lalu Yadav’s helpers reaching the jail just hours before he was convicted.

The RJD jumped to its leader’s defence, insisting that the presence of Mahto and Madan Yadav in jail was “conicidental”.

The superintendent of Birsa Munda Central Jail could not be reached for comments. Other government officials remained tight-lipped.

JD(U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar, in a statement issued in Patna, said, “Lalu Yadav is a person with feudal mindset who can make his party workers go to any extent to serve his personal interest.”

“This shows that Lalu Yadav’s commitment to social justice is a sham and he cares only for himself and his family members,” said Mr Kumar, a JD(U) MLC.

Sources said Mahto and Madan Yadav, both residents of Jharkhand, had moved into a house in Ranchi a few weeks before the December 23 CBI special court verdict against Lalu Yadav. Thereafter, they had a fight with a neighbour and were booked.

The FIR against Mahto and Madan Yadav was registered by their neighbour Sumit Yadav in Lower Bazaar police station, alleging that he was beaten up and robbed.

“They abused me and assaulted me when I asked them to return my money which they had borrowed. They also stole Rs 10,000 from my shirt’s pocket” Sumit Yadav said in his FIR against Madan Yadav and Mahto.

Both the aides of Lalu Yadav have been booked under IPC Section dealing with theft, causing hurt, insulting someone and wrongful restraint, punishable with a maximum of three years in jail.

This is not the first time the two have accompanied the RJD chief to Ranchi jail. Sources claimed that in 2013, when Lalu Yadav was convicted in the first fodder scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from the Chaibasa treasury, Mahto and Madan Yadav used the same trick to land in jail and be at their master’s beck and call.

Lalu Yadav has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail by the special CBI court in connection with the Deoghar treasury case involving the embezzlement of more than Rs 89 lakh in government funds between 1991 and 1994.

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