ED attaches assets of Lalu Prasad
The alleged scam pertains to the period when Lalu Prasad was the railway minister in the UPA-1 government. File pic

Lalu Prasad gets 5 year jail term in fifth fodder scam

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The former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad has been sentenced to another 5 years of imprisonment and a fine of ₹60 lakh by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court following his conviction in the Doranda treasury embezzlement case a week ago.

A representative from Lalu Prasad Yadav’s legal team told the media that they will appeal in the high court, and according to their calculations, half the sentence has been completed.

Last week, a special CBI court in Ranchi convicted Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad in the case which involved the illegal withdrawal of ₹139.35 crores from the Doranda treasury. A total of 75 people were convicted in this case, while 24 accused were acquitted in this case of embezzlement, which had taken place in Ranchi in 1995-1996 — when Lalu was the CM of undivided Bihar.

This is one of the five fodder scam cases against the senior politician, which had cast a shadow over his long political career of 26 years. The 73-year-old RJD leader, who was sent to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, after being arrested, has already been convicted in four previous cases of the fodder scam related to Dumka, Deoghar and Chaibasa treasuries in Jharkhand and sentenced to 14 years in jail.

However, he had been out on bail after having already served half of the sentence. The sixth case that is still pending before the CBI court in Patna is related to the illegal withdrawal of money from the Bank-Bhagalpur treasury.

Also read: Fodder scam: CBI court convicts Lalu in ₹139Cr Doranda treasury case

This charge in the fifth fodder scam case was first framed against the accused persons on September 26, 2005 and the prosecution evidence was closed on May 16, 2019, said court records. The statements of the accused were recorded on January 16, 2020.

The fodder scam is a set of 55 cases, later clubbed into fewer cases which happened in the animal husbandry department. It involved the alleged fraudulent withdrawals of an estimated ₹950 crore from the treasury of undivided Bihar, mostly between 1992 and 1995. The animal husbandry department officials would allegedly withdraw money providing fake bills for fodder, medicine and artificial insemination equipment.

The first report on Lalu and his predecessor Jagannath Mishra’s possible involvement was presented in 1992 by the then vigilance inspector Bidhu Bhushan Dwivedi to then director general G Narayan. According to media reports, the inspector is now a witness in many of the cases.

Further, the scam emerged in the public when Lalu, who held the animal husbandry portfolio, (and was holding the finance portfolio as well) had tabled the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report in the Assembly in December 1995. He had been CM for the second term for just a few months at that time.

The report showed the delays in submission of monthly accounts of the Bihar treasury and warned of possible laundering of funds, and said the animal husbandry department had made fraudulent withdrawals of bills of about ₹950 crore during Lalu’s tenure.

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