More trouble for Lalu? RJD chief to depose in two other fraud cases

Lalu’s counsel Sudhir Kumar Sinha confirmed that production warrant was issued against his client. The CBI had submitted a charge sheet against 44 accused.

Published: 22nd February 2022 03:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2022 12:51 PM   |  A+A-

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

PATNA:  Trouble for Lalu Prasad Yadav is far from over. He is supposed to depose before a special CBI court in Patna on February 25 in connection with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 46 lakh from district treasuries of Bhagalpur and Banka, an offshoot of fodder scam cases.

Special CBI judge Prajesh Kumar Singh issued production warrants against three accused, including Lalu, who is serving a sentence in Hotewar jail at Ranchi in Jharkhand. The IG, Jail, Jharkhand, has been asked to ensure deposition of the accused.

Besides Lalu, former MPs Jagdish Sharma and R K Rana and former bureaucrats Phulchand Singh and Beck Julius were among the 22 accused facing trial in the Bhagalpur-Banka treasury case. Lalu’s counsel Sudhir Kumar Sinha confirmed that production warrant was issued against his client.

The CBI had submitted a charge sheet against 44 accused.

However, 22 of them died during trial. According to CBI special public prosecutor R N Singh, 76 witnesses deposed before the trial court so far.

Meanwhile, political temperature in Bihar is rising with the award of five years of imprisonment to Lalu in another district treasury case. Reacting to this, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said he had no role to play in getting the fodder scam cases registered against Lalu. 

Nitish, however, did not miss the opportunity to attack his rival.

“Those who were behind getting the cases registered against him (Lalu) are still with him. It’s a different matter that some people are in both sides of the political combination.” 

WATCH | 

Former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, a BJP leader on whose petition the Patna High Court had ordered a CBI investigation into fodder scam, on Monday rubbished charges of political vendetta levelled against his party by supporters of RJD president Lalu Prasad.

Modi, now a Rajya Sabha member, came out with a video of himself reacting to the order of a CBI court in Ranchi which sentenced Prasad to five years in jail besides slapping him with a fine of Rs 60 lakh.

The BJP leader pointed out that the first charge sheet against Prasad was filled during the premiership of H D Deve Gowda, whose United Front government depended on Prasad for its survival.

He also recalled that the first time the Prasad got convicted was during the tenure of Manmohan Singh when the Congress-led UPA remained in power with the RJD's unflinching support.

The BJP leader, who remains in news for his "exposes" against Prasad and his family, also lent credence to former boss Nitish Kumar's contention that many who had filed cases accusing Prasad of corruption were now his close aides.

"Those who had filed PILs against Lalu ji, besides me, included Shivanand Tiwary, Vrishan Patel, and Prem Chandra Mishra", said Modi.

Tiwary is currently a national vice president of the RJD and his son is enjoying a second term as party MLA.

Vrishan Patel is a party-hopper who is currently a state vice president of the RJD.

Prem Chandra Mishra is an MLC of the Congress.

"The sight of Lalu ji going to jail at this ripe age fills me with pain. But this is not the first occasion. He has been previously convicted in four cases of the fodder scam", said Modi who has closely known Prasad since the 1970s when they held top posts in Patna University Students' Union.

Modi added, "it is high time Lalu ji's well-wishers gave up whining that he has been framed ('phansaya gaya hai'). It is an order of the court and judges are not BJP appointees".

Lalu Prasad on Monday declared that he will "continue to fight against those who make people fight with each other" - an oblique reference to the BJP and its alleged politics of communal polarization.

Prasad, in judicial custody at Ranchi since he was convicted last week, made the declamation on his official Twitter handle, which people close to him manage on his behalf, soon after a special CBI court sentenced him to five years in jail besides imposing a Rs 60 lakh fine.

In Patna, his younger son and heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav said people will respond with 'vote ki chot' (electoral backlash) in poll-bound neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and again the Lok Sabha elections scheduled in 2024.

Prasad, who got bail last summer after spending nearly three years behind bars, avoided taking any names in his couple of tweets, both in Hindi.

His son, though, minced no words in charging agencies like CBI and ED with having become a "prakoshth" (wing) of the BJP which has been ruling the Centre for seven years.

Yadav alleged that Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had been lured by BJP with a promise of reprieve in corruption cases, but was being hounded upon return to the NCP headed by uncle Sharad Pawar.

Claiming that his father was innocent, Yadav pointed out that as the then Bihar chief minister, Prasad had himself initiated action in the fodder scam and hoped "justice" will be done when their appeal was decided by the High Court.

"But fodder scam involved only a thousand crores. Under the NDA government headed by Nitish Kumar, Bihar has witnessed siphoning off of two lakh crores. But there has been no action", alleged Yadav who had served as Kumar's deputy for two years until the JD(U) leader snapped ties with RJD.

Nonetheless, the leader of the opposition claimed that his father enjoyed "unflinching support" of the people of Bihar, as evident from RJD emerging as the single largest party in assembly polls in 2015 and again five years later.

(With PTI Inputs)



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