A Ranchi court sentenced Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Wednesday to five years in prison in a fodder scam, ANI reported. Earlier in the day, the special Central Bureau of Investigation court had convicted the former Bihar chief minister.
Another former chief minister, Jagannath Mishra, who was one of the 55 other accused, was also sentenced to five years in prison. Both Yadav and Mishra were fined Rs 5 lakh each.
Fifty accused have been convicted in the case.
On Wednesday morning, Judge SS Prasad delivered the judgment in the case, which is related to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.67 crore from the treasury of Chaibasa district in 1992-’93. The district is now in Jharkhand. The accused allegedly withdrew the amount using fake allotment letters.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar – the leader of RJD’s former ally the Janata Dal (United) –
refused to react on the development. “We do not have anything to do with this,” he said, according to ANI. “It is a judicial decision. We will not react on it, but we will not compromise on our justice and development agenda.”
This was the third of the six such cases Yadav was booked in. Of the 76 accused in the case, 14 died during the trial, while three turned approvers. Two of the accused pleaded guilty and one is absconding.
Yadav was sentenced to three years and six months in jail on January 6 in another fodder scam case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 84.5 lakh from Deoghar treasury between 1994 and 1996, when he was Bihar’s chief minister. He is currently lodged in Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi. He moved the Jharkhand High Court in an appeal against his conviction in the case and also sought bail.
The fodder scam – exposed in 1996 – involved around Rs 1,000 crore being embezzled from the state exchequer for the purchase of fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle between 1990 and 1997.
The RJD chief’s son, Tejashwi Yadav, has accused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of conspiring against his father in the case. “We will approach higher courts against this verdict,” Tejashwi Yadav said.