Fodder scam: Sentencing likely on Sat, Lalu pleads for leniency

The special CBI court on Friday completed hearing the arguments of Lalu Prasad's lawyer but deferred pronouncing quantum of punishment for the RJD chief in the fodder scam.

Sources in Ranchi told DH that CBI judge Shiv Pal Singh heard the arguments on behalf of five of the total 16 convicts in the fodder scam case RC 64A/96 through video-conferencing. The judge had already heard the arguments of five other convicts on Thursday. He will hear the arguments of the remaining six convicts before pronouncing the quantum of punishment on Saturday.

Lalu's lawyer on Friday pleaded for leniency to the former chief minister of Bihar, arguing that the RJD chief was not in good health after his valve replacement at a prominent hospital in Mumbai. The lawyers also argued that the incarcerated leader had been facing trial for the last 21 years and had been imprisoned several times in connection with the fodder scam.

CBI against leniency

The CBI, however, opposed the defence plea and said maximum punishment should be awarded to the RJD president as he was in good health and had recently addressed political rallies too.

The judge is likely to pronounce quantum of punishment Saturday afternoon.

The CBI court had on December 23 convicted the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and 15 others in a case related to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 84.5 lakh from the Deoghar district treasury in Bihar between 1990 and 1994. Lalu was convicted in the first of five fodder scam cases, in 2013, and for that was sentenced to five years in prison.

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