Fodder scam: Lalu Prasad convicted, to move High Court: Top 10 developments

Lalu Prasad Yadav leaves CBI court in Ranchi after being pronounced guilty in Fodder scam (Dumka Treasury) case
A special Central Bureau of Investigation court on Monday convicted former Bihar chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (CM) Lalu Prasad in the multi-billion fourth fodder case, but acquitted another former CM, Jagannath Mishra. The fodder scam case is related to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 31.3 million (Rs 3.13 crore) from Dumka treasury in 1990s. 

The quantum of sentence in the fodder scam case will be pronounced later, according to Lalu Prasad’s lawyer. Judge Shuvapal Singh delivered the judgment in the case involving fraudulent withdrawal of money between December 1995 and January 1996 from the Dumka treasury. The verdict, scheduled on March 15, was deferred four times.

The court had earlier postponed the judgement in view of Lalu Prasad's counsel filing a petition under 319 CrPC asking that the then three officials of the Accountant General (in the 1990s) be made party to the case. Section 319 Cr PC is invoked when there is some strong and cogent evidence against the accused.

Lalu Prasad was convicted in the first fodder scam case in 2013 and awarded five years in jail. He was convicted in the second case on December 23, 2017 and given three-and-a-half years imprisonment. Conviction in the third fodder scam case on January 24 got him another five-year jail term. The bulk of the cases were transferred to Ranchi after Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in 2000.

The over Rs 9 billion (Rs 900 crore) fodder scam cases relate to illegal withdrawal of money from the government treasury in different districts in the animal husbandry department in undivided Bihar in 1990s, when RJD was ruling the state.

Here are the top 10 developments of Lalu Prasad fourth fodder scam case:

1. Lalu to move High Court in fodder scam

The decision on moving to the High Court in connection with the conviction of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad will be taken after the quantum of the sentence pronounced in the fodder scam case, his lawyer said on Monday.

After Lalu's conviction, his lawyer Prabhat Kumar said: "The sentencing will be pronounced on Friday and it is only after the quantum of punishment we will decide on moving the high court in the case."

2. Lalu Prasad convicted:  The CBI convicted Lalu Prasad today in the case RC 38A/96 for illegal withdrawal of Rs 31.3 million (3.13 crore) from Dumka treasury in the 1990s. There were 31 accused in this case, of which 19 were convicted and 12 acquitted. Lalu Prasad has been convicted in four cases of fodder scam so far. 

Lalu Prasad is already serving a jail term of 13.5 years in three fodder cases and lodged in the Birsa Munda jail in Ranchi.The 69-year-old RJD chief has been in Ranchi's Birsa Munda jail since December 23, 2017, after being convicted in the second fodder scam case involving the illegal withdrawal of Rs 8.927 million (Rs 89.27 lakh) from the Deogarh treasury 21 years ago.  

3. Lalu Prasad wasn’t present in court: The judge delivered the case alphabetically but Lalu Prasad reached the court after the verdict was delivered, however, his lawyer was present during the verdict. 

Lalu Prasad was admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) on Saturday after he complained of constipation. His lawyer was present when the verdict came. 

4. Jagannath Mishra acquitted: Jagannath Mishra was present in the court in Ranchi. The CBI, for the second time, acquitted former chief minister Jagannath Mishra in the fodder scam case. Both Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra are facing five cases each in the fodder scam in Ranchi.

5. CBI accused 3 former Bihar account generals: The special CBI court, on Friday, had accused three Bihar accountant generals in the fourth fodder scam case. 

The court had issued summons to former Bihar accountant general P K Mukhopadhyay, former deputy Accountant General B N Jha and former senior director general of accounts office Pramod Kumar on the request of Prasad, who had sought a trial against the three former bureaucrats.

6. ‘Modi playing some game’: Reacting to the judgement, RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said: "There were four conspirators in the case and three including Mishra have been acquitted. This indicates that (Prime Minster) Narendra Modi is playing some game. We will appeal,” reported news agency IANS.

Ajab hai Narendra Modi aur Nitish ka mel, ajab hai khel, dubara se ho gaya Jagannath Mishra riha, aur Lalu Yadav ko jail. Ek aadmi ko jail, ek aadmi ko bail, ye hai Narendra Modi ka khel: Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, RJD

— ANI (@ANI) March 19, 2018
RJD spokesperson Shakti Yadav said the party would challenge the verdict in the High Court. Soon after the verdict, hundreds of RJD leaders and workers gathered outside 10, Circular Road, the official residence of Rabri Devi. Most said the RJD chief had been convicted due to political vendetta.

"How come Jagannath Mishra has been acquitted in a scam in which Lalu Prasad is convicted? Mishra was acquitted as he supported the BJP, which has 'managed' the CBI, and Lalu Prasad was convicted for fighting against them," RJD worker Mukesh Singh said.

7. Lalu’s wife, son disappointed: Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi and her elder son Tej Pratap Yadav expressed disappointment over Lalu’s conviction, saying they had thought he will be acquitted.

"I was expecting acquittal. It disappointed us. But we respect the verdict and have faith in judiciary," Rabri Devi said, reported news agency IANS.

Tej Pratap said he expected "relief" for his father. Nonetheless, "we respect the court verdict".

8. Lalu Prasad gets five years in jail in third fodder scam case: A special CBI court in Ranchi sentenced RJD supremo and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad to five years in jail in the third fodder scam case on January 24, 2018. At the time of sentencing, Yadav was already serving a jail term in the second fodder scam case. 

CBI judge SS Prasad had also found another former chief minister, Jagannath Mishra, guilty in the case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 376.2 million from the Chaibasa treasury in the 1990s. 

Out of the 56 accused in the case, six were acquitted.

9. Lalu Prasad gets three-and-a-half years in jail in second fodder scam case: On January 6, Lalu Prasad was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail and fined Rs 1 million by another CBI judge in a fodder scam case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 8.92 million from the Deoghar Treasury 21 years ago.

This was the second time that he was jailed in the fodder scam. 

The CBI lawyer said a fine totalling Rs 1 million was imposed on the RJD supremo. Lalu was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for offences of cheating, read with criminal conspiracy, using as genuine a forged document, and other sections under the IPC. Further, he was also given a jail term of three years and six months in the case under the PCA. The sentences will run concurrently.

The counsel said failure to pay a fine of Rs 500,000 each under the IPC and the PCA would entail another six months in jail for the RJD leader. 

10. Fifth fodder case pending in court: The fifth case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 1.39 billion (Rs 139 crore) from the treasury of Doranda in Ranchi is pending with the court.

The over Rs 9-billion (Rs 900-crore) fodder scam cases relate to the illegal withdrawal of money from government treasuries in different districts in the Animal Husbandry department in undivided Bihar in 1990s, when RJD was in power in the state.

Lalu Prasad was convicted in first fodder scam case in 2013: Earlier, on September 30, 2013, Lalu Prasad was held guilty in another case pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 377 million and handed down a five-year prison term. The RJD president had five cases against him in the Rs 9-billion fodder scam. He was on bail in the first case when he was convicted and sentenced in the second.

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