Business Standard

Lalu Prasad Yadav sentenced to five years in jail in fifth fodder scam case

The RJD supremo had earlier been sentenced to 14 years in prison and slapped with a fine of Rs 60 lakh in 4 other cases related to Dumka, Deoghar and Chaibasa treasuries and was in jail since Dec 2017

Lalu Prasad Yadav

Lalu Prasad Yadav (PTI Photo)

Press Trust of India
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav was on Monday sentenced to five years in prison and slapped a fine of Rs 60 lakh by a special CBI court in Ranchi in connection with the fifth fodder scam case involving embezzlement of over Rs 139 crore by Doranda treasury.

The court in the Jharkhand capital pronounced the sentence against the ailing 73-year-old former chief minister of Bihar and 39 others after virtually hearing arguments on the quantum of punishment in the case.

"Lalu Prasad has been sentenced to five years imprisonment while a penalty of Rs 60 lakh has also been imposed on him. The court has given five years imprisonment to four others, four years each for to 32 convicts and three years each to three convicts," CBI counsel BMP Singh told PTI.

After his conviction in the case on February 15, Prasad was lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail and then shifted to state-run Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi, where doctors said on Monday that his condition is "serious but stable".

The ebullient leader suffers from multiple ailments, including renal problems.

In a statement, CBI Spokesperson RC Joshi said the special judge sentenced "40 accused to undergo three to 5 five years rigorous imprisonment with a total fine of Rs. 11.93 crore (approx.)"

"Fine imposed on convicts ranges from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 crore," Singh said, adding that the highest amount of Rs 2 crore penalty was imposed on supplier Tripurari Mohan Prasad.

The RJD supremo had earlier been sentenced to 14 years in prison and slapped with a fine of Rs 60 lakh in four other cases related to Dumka, Deoghar and Chaibasa treasuries and was in jail since December 2017.

Lalu Prasad Yadav sentenced to five years in jail in fifth fodder scam case
Prasad served most of his sentence period at the RIMS. He was taken to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in January last year after his health condition deteriorated and later got bail in April.

Prasad's counsel said they will appeal against the order in the High Court.

"He (Lalu Prasad) has already completed 36 months of his jail term," the lawyer said.

A seven-member team of doctors is monitoring Prasad's health at RIMS.

His (Lalu Prasad's) blood sugar and blood pressure are fluctuating. The sugar level was recorded at 70 mg/dl in the morning but shot up to 240 mg/dl by the afternoon. His systolic blood pressure is fluctuating between 130 and 160, Vidyapati, who heads the team, told PTI.

The final case was related to withdrawals of Rs 139.35 crore from Doranda treasury during his tenure as the chief minister of undivided Bihar.

Of the 99 accused in the case, 24 were acquitted.

Prasad, who also held the finance portfolio at the time of the scam, has alleged that the cases were filed against him due to political vendetta.

In a message posted on Twitter on Monday, the RJD chief said he has never bowed down and would continue to fight those who have trapped him in conspiracies as they cannot defeat him.

The CBI had examined 575 witnesses in the case and filed charge sheet against 170 people. However, only 99 accused, including Prasad, faced trial which had commenced in 1996.

While 55 accused died, eight turned government approvers. As many as six accused are still absconding.

Special CBI Judge Sudhanshu Kumar Shashi had on January 29 completed the hearing.

Apart from Prasad, former MP Jagdish Sharma, the then Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Dhruv Bhagat, Animal Husbandry Secretary Beck Julius and Animal Husbandry Assistant Director Dr K M Prasad were the main accused.

The fodder scam, pegged at Rs 950 crore, was first unearthed by the then Chaibasa deputy commissioner Amit Khare.

The Animal Husbandry Department had allegedly issued fake bills for large disbursements from government treasuries in various districts of undivided Bihar.

During the investigation, the roles of bureaucrats, politicians including the then chief minister of Bihar and others came to the fore, CBI Spokesperson RC Joshi said.

"Three charge sheets were filed in the Court of Special Judge, AHD Cases, Ranchi on May 08, 2001, June 07, 2003 and June 24, 2003 against the accused including Lalu Prasad Yadav, then Chief Minister, Bihar, other Politicians, Bureaucrats, Veterinary Doctors, treasury officials, suppliers, etc," Joshi said.

"During the trial, 575 prosecution witnesses were examined and around 4,200 documents were got exhibited," he said.

The CBI named Prasad as an accused in June 1997. The agency framed charges against Prasad and former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra, who died in 2019.

The central agency had registered 53 separate cases in connection with the scam in 1996.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 21 2022 | 2:34 PM IST

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