Lalu Found Guilty in 3rd Fodder Scam, Gets 5 Years in Jail

A special CBI court in Ranchi on Wednesday, 24 January, pronounced Lalu Prasad Yadav guilty in the third fodder scam case and sentenced him to five years in prison. The court also convicted former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra in the case, and he too was sentenced to five years of imprisonment.

Special court Judge SS Prasad delivered the verdict in the case, which is related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.67 crore from the Chaibasa treasury in 1992-1993, through fake allotment letters. The actual sanction of amount was Rs 7.10 lakh.

In all, there are 56 accused, including former chief secretary of Jharkhand, Sajal Chakraborty. Sajjal was deputy commissioner of West Singhbhum district when the alleged fraudulent withdrawal had taken place.

Following his father’s conviction, Lalu’s son and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav accused the newly-formed alliance of Nitish Kumar and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of conspiring to put his father behind the bars.

"It is sad that the one who was elected to power by the public is in jail and those who weren’t elected made a backdoor entry into the government. This entire episode was scripted by the BJP and Nitish Kumar. This conspiracy will not affect the public of Bihar. The more they harass us, the stronger will be the response that people of Bihar give them in next elections." - Tejashwi Yadav, RJD leader

Tejashwi asserted that Lalu Yadav is an ideology in himself, which is accepted by everyone in Bihar and all over the country. He further added that the BJP is after his father because Lalu “didn’t bow down to BJP’s demands.”

Reacting to the verdict, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said:

"We don’t have anything to do with this. Its a judicial decision, we will not react on it, but will not compromise on our justice and development agenda."

Speaking minutes after the RJD supremo’s conviction, Lalu’s son, Tejashwi Yadav, slammed the government, calling the verdict a “conspiracy.”

"People know how BJP, RSS, and more importantly Nitish Kumar, have conspired against Lalu ji. We will approach higher courts against all these verdicts." - Tejashwi Yadav

Party leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh too said that the fight against the government will continue, and that they would get justice.

Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, meanwhile, hit out at Tejashwi’s comment.

"Its nothing surprising, it was expected. The statements coming from RJD are unfortunate, do they mean to say the judge is conspiring with BJP and Nitish ji?" - Sushil Modi, Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar

Currently, Lalu Yadav is in Birsa Munda Central Jail of Ranchi, as he was awarded a three and-a-half year sentence on 6 January this year in a fodder scam relating to fraudulent withdrawal from the Deoghar treasury.

Lalu Yadav was first convicted in a fodder scam case in 2013 and was awarded five years' imprisonment.

(With inputs from IANS)

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