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Only hidden agenda was to loot public money: Judge on fodder scam

Ranchi, Oct 3, 2013 (PTI): 23:24 IST
RJD supremo Lalu Prasad's advocate Surendra Singh after pronouncement of the sentence in the fodder scam case by the special CBI court in Ranchi, Jharkhand on Thursday. Lalu was sentenced 5 years in jail. PTI Photo
A special CBI Court, which convicted former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad, Jagannath Mishra and 43 others in the fodder scam, today said that politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen connived to loot public money.

"High level politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen connived together and entered into a criminal conspiracy for fraudulent withdrawal of public money by way of forging several documents in virtually making a loot of public money with only one ‘Hidden Agenda’ of syphoning the public money from Govt.- Treasury by fraudulent withdrawal," Judge Pravas Kumar Singh said in his 475-page verdict.

Observing that everyone had heard that God was omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, the judge said, "Now, we have seen that there is a constant and continuous attempt being made to replace the word God by the word corruption."

The verdict said that these cases related to a series of orchestrated fraudulent acts by which a staggeringly huge amount of public money was plundered after creating fake bills and other false documents, with the active participation or connivance of several high ups in the state administration and succeeded in "draining out Rs 900 crores and odd".
Stating that day-in and day-out sermons were preached listing out the evils of corruption and slogans with catch-words against the corruption, the judge said there were positive and constructive remedial measures and steps taken for its eradication by the agency concerned.

"We have also seen that there is a constant debate throughout the Globe regarding the magnitude and multi-dimensional causes of corruption," he said.

"But even then, omnipresent corruption with its tentacles poses a great threat to the welfare of the society and grows in menacing proportion."

The judge said "An impression is also created by and large that corruption is an inevitable evil. It has been noticed in most of the corruption cases that flouting of the rules in disastrous manner have opened the windows for practicing corruption."

He said that it was argued at length that corruption as alleged by the prosecution in the case was 'very meagre' in nature in comparison to the 2G spectrum scam, Commonwealth Games scam, several land scams, Coal Gate, Rail-Gate, the IPL fixing scam, money-laundering in Jharkhand.

"But it is to be kept in mind that fodder scam is first in such type of scam, which was perhaps continuing since the year 1987 and unique in the sense that the public money was being siphoned through the Govt-Treasury with the help of fake allotment-letters and by flouting the rules, while in other scams the money to be deposited in the treasuries were not deposited by way of flouting the rules," the judge said.

He observed corruption in civilised society has spread like a cancer, "which if not detected in time, it is sure to (be) malignant." Political leaders, including ruling JDU MP Jagdish Sharma, did not perform their duties as expected from them, observed the judge.

Sharma, who as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the Bihar Legislature Assembly in the 1990s, stalled investigation for a period resulting perforation of the scam, and Sharma was getting his due gratification, the judgement said.

Former BJP MLA, who succeeded Sharma to as PAC Chairman, followed the footsteps of his predecessor, observes the judge.

Finding former AHD minister Vidya Sagar Nishad and others were taking gratification and they did not perform their duties as expected from them, the judgment said, "They remained mute spectators of the ongoing scam."

The judge also found former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra, then a leader of opposition giving patronage to the 'scamsters' and getting gratification for his patronage.
Yadav, as the Chief Minister-cum-Finance Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was giving full patronage to the conspirators for gratification and also for his political ends and was in "habit of taking gratification through former RJD MLA R K Rana, who had "very proximate relationship" with Yadav.

"The politicians were giving patronage to this large knit conspiracy for their gratification of cash, kind, hospitality, air journey tickets, stay in hotels, free vehicles for their family members, car and other type of gratification defined under P.C. Act," the judge wrote.

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