Lalu Prasad Yadav was convicted on Monday by a special CBI court in the fourth fodder scam. The jailed former Bihar CM who is already serving a 13.5-year jail term was found guilty of fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.5 crore from the treasury of Dumka. This was the fourth conviction for Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam, while the fifth case for alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 139 crore from the Doranda Treasury is still pending in court.
Lalu was charged by CBI in 1997 for embezzling treasury funds meant for purchasing of cattle fodder in Bihar. He was charged with 63 cases by CBI and had to resign as the CM of Bihar. Notably, he had installed Rabri Devi as the CM in his stead. For years, Lalu managed to evade the law in all the fodder cases that were filed against him. However, the law finally caught up with him in 2013 when he was convicted of the first fodder scam and sentenced to five years in jail.
The second conviction came on December 23, 2017, when he was awarded a sentence of three-and-a-half years. This was followed by a conviction on January 24 when another five-year jail time was added to his sentence for the third fodder scam. The quantum of sentence for the present conviction will be announced on March 21 by Judge Shuvapal Singh after hearing the arguments from both sides.
Lalu Prasad Yadav did everything at his disposal to delay the judgement as long as possible. His counsel had filed a petition asking the three officials of the Accountant General at that time to be made a party to this case. There were 31 accused in this case, including the former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra who was acquitted. Mishra has earlier been convicted in two fodder cases.
Lalu Prasad who has been lodged in the Birsa Munda Prison since December 23 was admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences after he fell ill on Saturday. Lalu arrived in the court after the judgement was delivered. However, Jagannath Mishra was present in the court. After the verdict, Lalu refused to give any comments to the media persons who were waiting outside the court.
But his party was not the one to take it lying down. They went on blaming PM Modi for the ‘unfair verdict’.
As one would expect, the RJD resorted to blaming Modi for the conviction. RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh claimed that out of four conspirators in the case, three were acquitted indicating Prime Minister Modi was playing some game. RJD leaders and workers claimed political vendetta going to the extent of accusing BJP of ‘managing’ CBI and convicting Lalu because he was against the BJP.
Earlier last week, Tejaswi Yadav had said after RJD’s victory in Bihar by-poll that Lalu Yadav was an ideology. As it turns out, the ideology (Lalu Yadav) was accused and now has been convicted of siphoning Rs 9 billion from the Government treasuries in the animal husbandry department. The future for the ‘kingmaker’ of the yesteryears seems pretty bleak. It is expected that RJD will challenge the verdict in the higher courts.