Fodder scam: Lalu's sentencing deferred by a day
Abhay Kumar, DH News Service, Patna, Jan 3 2018, 14:40 IST
Lalu Prasad. PTI
A special CBI court, hearing fodder scam cases in Jharkhand, on Wednesday deferred pronouncing the quantum of punishment to former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad and 15 other convicts by a day.
The jail sentence was deferred by CBI judge Shiv Pal Singh in Ranchi due to the untimely demise of a lawyer Bindeshwari Prasad.
Lalu and 15 others were convicted by the court on December 23 and sent to Birsa Munda Jail at Hotwar, on the outskirts of Ranchi.
Six other accused, including former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra, were exonerated due to lack of evidence against them.
Lalu was found guilty under Section 120 (B) and Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
"We have prayed to the court for lesser punishment on three grounds. First, it’s a 21-year-old case. Second, Lalu Prasad is now 70 years old. And thirdly, Lalu ji has undergone valve transplant in 2014 when he had to be admitted to a Mumbai Hospital," said Lalu’s lawyer Prabhat Kumar in Ranchi on Wednesday.
This case RC 64A/96 is related to fraudulent withdrawal of around Rs 90 lakh from the Deogarh treasury, in which Lalu as well as Mishra were accused. As many as 38 persons were named accused in the case.
However, 11 died during trial, three became approvers and two others pleaded guilty.
The remaining 22 accused included four bureaucrats: Beck Julius, Mahesh Prasad, K Arumugam and Phoolchand Singh, all of whom have now retired.
Of these 22 accused, six people were let off on December 23.
Lalu was earlier convicted and jailed in another fodder scam case RC 20A/96 on September 13, 2013, after the judge found him guilty.
The conviction got him five years imprisonment, disqualification from the Lok Sabha and a ban on contesting elections for six years after the end of his jail term.
However, the Supreme Court granted him bail in December 2013.
A trial against Lalu was revived last year after the apex court restored corruption charges, and, on May 8,2017, asked the lower court to separately try the accused in Deoghar treasury case RC 64A/96 and complete the hearing within nine months.