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Lalu Prasad Yadav convicted in fodder scam

The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 3

Press Trust of India  |  Ranchi 

RJD chief Lalu Prasad after being convicted in fodder scam case, in Ranchi on Saturday. Photo: PTI
RJD chief Lalu Prasad after being convicted in fodder scam case, in Ranchi on Saturday. Photo: PTI

In a major setback to the RJD, a special on Saturday convicted former chief and 15 others in a case 21 years after it had surfaced, while acquitting six others including another former chief pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom in the case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994. The will pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 3. The copy of the judgement was not immediately available. Sixty-nine-year-old Lalu Prasad, who heads the RJD, and other convicts were taken into custody immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict. Lalu Prasad’s son Tejaswi Yadav, who is the of Opposition in the Assembly, was present in the and other convicted in the case were then whisked off to jail, where security has been tightened, sources said. The special acquitted 80-year-old and five others — former Druv Bhagat, former officer A C Choudhary, fodder suppliers and and former Besides Lalu Prasad, the convicted political leaders Jagdish Sharma and R K Rana, IAS officers Beck Julius, and Mahesh Prasad, and government officials and The others are suppliers/transporters Tripurari Mohan Prasad, Sushil Kumar Sinha, Sunil Kumar Sinha, Raja Ram Joshi, Gopinath Das, Sanjay Agarwal, and In 1996, the Patna High ordered an inquiry into the cases and a charge sheet in the Deogarh treasury case was filed against 38 people on October 27, 1997. Eleven of them died and three turned approvers while two other accused confessed and were convicted in 2006-07, a official said. The accused faced charges under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act. The had on December 13 reserved its on the matter. said that the party would move the high against the special order. Soon after the verdict, a post on Lalu Prasad's handle read, "Powerful people and powerful classes always managed to divide society into ruling and the ruled classes. And whenever anyone from the lower hierarchy challenged this unjust order, they would be deliberately punished." "Had people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, failed in their efforts, history would have treated them as villains. They still are villains for the biased, racist and casteist minds. No one should expect any different treatment," adds another tweet. On September 30, 2013, Yadav, and several others had been convicted in another case pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa Treasury in the early 1990s. Today's conviction is the second in the scam. The Supreme had granted bail on December 13 that year to Prasad, who had been behind the bars for two months. Prasad had moved the apex challenging the order of the High which had dismissed his bail plea. Yadav faces another three cases for illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.97 crore from the Dumka Treasury, Rs 36 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury and Rs 184 crore from the Doranda treasury. "The legal fight will continue," told newsmen outside the special here reacting to the conviction of the He said adding that besides fighting it legally, the party would go to the people "fight it politically also". Another senior RJD leader, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, a confidant of Prasad, said it was not right to comment on a judgement but the people were discussing how it is freedom for some people and jail for others in the same case. "The layman is asking why it is jail for some and freedom for others? It is baffling how the BJP and JD(U) had predicted the verdict. This has created confusion among the people also," he said. "The case was on excess withdrawal from Deogarh treasury. has been charged with connivance as he was the then - the charge is not direct.

The withdrawal had been taking place since 1977. There were several chief ministers who were in charge of the department when was not the or the chief so why is he being singled out?" Siddiqui asked. "Laluji's going to jail is not new for RJD. He had been sent to jail on earlier occasions and every time RJD bounced back with double the strength. That is why we are still number one in Bihar," he said. The party was waiting to know the quantum of punishment to Prasad to be pronounced on January 3 and would then decide its course of action, added.

THE SCAM THAT UNDID LALU The Rs 950-crore was unearthed in the undivided regime in 1996. After was carved out of in 2000, 39 of the 61 cases were transferred to the new state. 1996: The is unearthed after Chaibasa deputy commissioner raids the animal husbandry department. Patna High asks to investigate 1997: files chargesheet, names as accused. Lalu quits as CM, makes wife Rabri CM 2000: Rabri, too, named accused but granted bail 2006: A Patna lower acquits Lalu and Rabri 2012: Charges framed against Lalu and Jagannath Mishra September 2013: Lalu, and 45 others convicted in another case. Lalu disqualified as Lok Sabha member; debarred from contesting elections December: Supreme grants Lalu bail 2017: Trial revives after SC order. Apex asks lower to separately try them in Deoghar treasury case December 23: special finds Lalu and 17 others guilty

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First Published: Sun, December 24 2017. 00:11 IST