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CBI court sentences Lalu to 5 years in prison in fodder scam case, slaps fine of Rs 60 lakhs

Lalu Yadav

Ranchi, February 21: A special CBI court on Monday sentenced RJD Supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav to five years in prison and slapped a fine of Rs 60 lakh on him in connection with the Rs 139 crore fodder scam where the Doranda treasury allegedly embezzled.
The court pronounced the sentence on the quantum of sentence after virtually hearing arguments.
“Lalu Prasad has been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment while a penalty of Rs 60 lakh has also been imposed on him. Apart from Prasad, five years imprisonment each was announced by the Court for five convicts, four years each for 32 convicts and three years each for three convicts,” CBI counsel BMP Singh told PTI.
“Fine imposed on convicts ranges from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 crore,” Singh said adding that the highest amount of Rs 2 crore penalty was imposed on supplier Tripurari Mohan Prasad.
After his conviction in Rs 139.35 crore Doranda treasury embezzlement case, the fifth and final one against him in the multi-crore fodder scam on February 15, the ailing 73-year old former Bihar chief minister was lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail and then shifted to state-run Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi on health grounds.
The ebullient leader suffers from multiple ailments, including renal problems.
In jail since December 2017, Prasad served most of his sentence period at the RIMS. He was taken to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in January last year after his health condition deteriorated.
Prasad’s counsel said they will appeal this order in the High Court. He (Lalu) has already completed 36 months of his jail term”.
Prasad had earlier been sentenced to 14 years in jail in four other fodder scam cases. The final case was related to withdrawals of Rs 139.35 crore from Doranda treasury during his tenure as the chief minister of undivided Bihar.
Of the 99 accused in the case, 24 were acquitted.
The CBI had examined 575 witnesses in the case, and filed charge sheet against 170 people. However, only 99 accused, including Prasad, faced trial which had commenced in 1996.
In the course of the 22-year-long trial, 55 accused died, while eight turned government approvers. As many as six accused are still absconding.
Special CBI Judge Sudhanshu Kumar Shashi had on January 29 completed the hearing.
Apart from Prasad, former MP Jagdish Sharma, the then Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Dhruv Bhagat, Animal Husbandry Secretary Beck Julius and Animal Husbandry Assistant Director Dr K M Prasad were the main accused.
The fodder scam, pegged at Rs 950 crore, was first unearthed by the then Chaibasa deputy commissioner Amit Khare.
The Animal Husbandry Department had allegedly issued fake bills for large disbursements from government treasuries in various districts of undivided Bihar.
Prasad, then the chief minister, also held the finance portfolio.
The RJD supremo, had earlier been sentenced to 14 years in prison and slapped with a fine of Rs 60 lakh in four other cases related to Dumka, Deoghar and Chaibasa treasuries after conviction in which he got bail.
The CBI named Prasad as an accused in June 1997. The agency framed charges against Prasad and former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra, who died in 2019.
The central agency had registered 53 separate cases in connection with the scam in 1996. (PTI)