A special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday postponed the sentencing of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav for the third straight day, ANI reported. Judge Shivpal Singh will pronounce the quantum of sentence for the 15 convicts in the case via video conferencing at 2 pm on Saturday, Yadav’s lawyer Chittaranjan Sinha said.
Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal denied on Friday the claims made by the judge a day before that he had received many “references” from Yadav’s supporters, PTI reported. The party said that the phone calls to Singh might have been made by Yadav’s political opponents impersonating RJD supporters. Nobody from the party made such calls, the RJD said.
On December 23, 2017, the CBI court found Yadav guilty in one of the six fodder scam cases. It also convicted 14 other accused in the case. The Rashtriya Janata Dal chief has been lodged at the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi since his conviction. The court acquitted seven accused in the case, including another former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra.
Yadav’s advocate on Friday filed a petition before the CBI court in Ranchi, demanding minimum punishment for his client on health grounds, ANI reported. “I have no role in this scam directly,” Yadav said in the plea. “Consider minimum punishment keeping in view my age and health grounds.”
The counsel for the investigative agency had sought the “maximum possible sentence” to those convicted so that “no one tries to commit such a heinous crime” again.
The court, on Wednesday, found Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Manoj Jha, as well as former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav, guilty of contempt of court. It summoned the three to court on January 23.
The fodder scam
This is the second among the six fodder scam cases. It is connected with the alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 84.5 lakh from the Deoghar district treasury between 1994 and 1996, when Yadav was Bihar’s chief minister. The scam – exposed in 1996 – involved the embezzlement of Rs 1,000 crore from the state exchequer for the purchase of fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle between 1990 and 1997.
Yadav spent 87 days in jail in 2013, after being convicted in an earlier case in the scam, before the Supreme Court granted him bail.