Lalu Prasad Yadav convicted in fifth fodder case, setback to RJD

The Asian Age.  | nayear azad

India, All India

Sentencing by CBI court on February 21

The RJD supremo has secured bail in the four cases related to Dumka, Deoghar and Chaibasa treasuries. (Photo: PTI/File)

Patna: A special CBI court on Tuesday convicted RJD chief and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in a fodder scam case. This is the fifth case in which Mr Yadav has been found guilty by the special CBI court. The case pertains to the illegal withdrawal of Rs 139.35 crores from the Doranda treasury in 1995-96 when he was the Bihar chief minister.

RJD sources in Patna said the court’s order had come as a setback for the Lalu Yadav family and the party as they were expecting some leniency on grounds of his age and health. “We have full faith in the judiciary and request the court to consider his age and health condition”, RJD workers in Patna said after the court announced the conviction. Terming Lalu Yadav as a “messiah of the poor”, his son Tejashwi Yadav said “we have full faith in the judiciary and hope that he will come out soon”.

The judgment was pronounced by CBI special judge S.K. Shashi. After Mr Yadav was convicted, his lawyer said: “The quantum of sentence in the case will be pronounced on February 21. A petition has been filed in the court to consider his age and health condition.”

He was taken into judicial custody after the order was pronounced, and was later shifted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, on health grounds, RJD sources said. Besides Mr Yadav, the court has convicted 75 accused in the case, while 24 others were acquitted.

The money was illegally withdrawn through fake bills and vouchers in the name of arranging fodder and transporting animals. The lawyers said in the course of the investigation it was found that the vehicle numbers used in transporting animals including buffaloes were those of scooters, mopeds and motorcycles.

Mr Yadav was earlier granted bail in four fodder scam cases pertaining to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 900 crores from the Deoghar, Chaibasa and Dumka treasuries.

Mr Yadav was convicted in the first fodder scam case in 2013 and sent to five years in prison. The case was related to the illegal withdrawal of more than Rs 37 crores from the Chaibasa treasury. The conviction in the case barred him from contesting elections. Later that year, in December, he was granted bail in the case.

He was convicted in the second fodder scam case in December 2017 and awarded a prison term of three and a half years. This was related to the illegal withdrawal of funds from the Deoghar treasury. In this case, he secured bail in July 2021.

In January 2018 he was convicted for five years in the third case over the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.13 crores from the Chaibasa treasury. In March 2018, the special CBI court convicted Mr Yadav for the illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.76 crores from the Dumka treasury. He was given 14 years in prison as well as a fine of Rs 60 lakhs.