Lalu Prasad Yadav convicted in fourth fodder scam case, Ex-Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra acquitted

Lalu Prasad and others are accused of fraudulently withdrawing Rs. 3.13 crore from Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996, when the former was the chief minister of undivided Bihar.

Published: 19th March 2018 01:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2018 03:41 PM   |  A+A-

Lalu Prasad Yadav convicted in fourth fodder scam case, Ex-Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra acquitted, 19 March, 2018. | PTI

Express News Service

PATNA: A special CBI court in Ranchi on Monday convicted RJD chief and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fourth case of fodder scam in which he figured as an accused. Former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra was acquitted by the court, which will pronounce the sentences on Wednesday.

The verdict in the Dumka treasury case of Bihar’s Rs 1,000-crore fodder scam came as a jolt to RJD, Bihar’s main Opposition party that has the largest number of MLAs in the state Assembly. Before this, Yadav, 69, has been convicted in three other cases of the scam that was unearthed in mid-1990s when he was chief minister and had forced him to step down in 1997.

Judge Shiv Pal Singh pronounced Yadav and 18 other accused in the case guilty and acquitted 12 accused. The case (RC 38A/96) pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.76 crore from the government treasury in Dumka, presently in Jharkhand, even though the withdrawal limit was fixed at just Rs 1.50 lakh.

Officials of the state animal husbandry department, some bureaucrats of the then undivided Bihar government and suppliers of animal food had colluded with politicians to withdraw the funds from the treasury through 96 fake vouchers between December 1995 and January 1996. Yadav was the chief minister of Bihar at the time.

Special CBI courts in Ranchi have earlier held Yadav guilty in three other cases of the scam. He was handed a five-year jail term in the Chaibasa treasury case in September 2013; a jail term for three years and a half in the Deoghar treasury case in December 2017; and a jail term for five years in another case linked to the Chaibasa treasury in January last.

According to PTI, emerging out of the court, Lalu Prasad Yadav told reporters he did not wish to make any comment, while party vice president Raghubansh Prasad Singh said that they would challenge the order in the high court.

"Koi comment nahi karna hai (I do not have to make any comment)," the RJD chief said to mediapersons waiting outside the court in Ranchi.

Yadav, who also served as railway minister in the UPA-I government, has been lodged in Birsa Munda Central Jail at Hotwar near Ranchi since December 23, 2017. He was shifted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in the Jharkhand capital from jail on Saturday after his health condition worsened.

A few minutes before pronouncement of the verdict, Yadav was brought to court from RIMS in an ambulance. He looked sombre and indisposed, and did not speak to journalists as he left the courtroom after learning of the verdict. He was taken back to RIMS, where he is likely to stay for the next three days.

Yadav’s two sons – Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav and former health minister Tej Pratap Yadav – were present on the court premises along with several senior RJD leaders and hundreds of supporters of the party.

“I was expecting relief this time. But I respect the judicial verdict. I am sure he will be acquitted by the higher courts soon,” said Yadav’s wife Rabri Devi, a former Bihar chief minister.

Prasad has been in Birsa Munda jail at Ranchi since December 23 last year after being convicted in the second case pertaining to illegal withdrawal of money from Deogarh treasury.

In today's verdict by the special CBI court, former Public Accounts Committee Chairmen Jagdish Sharma and Dhruv Bhagat, ex-MLA R K Rana, former Bihar minister Vidya Sagar Nishad were also acquitted in the case.

Former Income Tax Commissioner A C Choudhary, former IAS officers Beck Julius and Mahesh Prasad and former divisional commissioner M C Subarno were among the ex-government officials who were acquitted.

Another former IAS official Phool Chand Singh was convicted along with some former AHD officials and transporters.

The fifth case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 139 crore from the Doranda treasury in Ranchi is pending with the court.

(with PTI inputs)

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