Fodder scam: 3.5 years jail term for Lalu

Fodder scam: 3.5 years jail term for Lalu

The Special CBI court on Saturday awarded three and a half years of imprisonment to former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad in one of the six fodder scam cases.

Pronouncing the quantum of punishment to Lalu and 15 others, already convicted by the court on December 23, the CBI judge Shiv Pal Singh, through video-conferencing, also slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh on Lalu, besides the jail imprisonment.

"If Lalu Prasad fails to pay the fine, he will have to serve an additional six months in jail, apart from the 3.5 years of jail-term," said Prabhat Kumar, lawyer of the incarcerated RJD chief.

Lalu, who is presently lodged in Ranchi's Birsa Munda Jail, will not be eligible for bail immediately as the sentence is of more than three years. "Since the quantum of punishment is a jail term for more than three years, we can't get immediate bail from the CBI court. We will now move High Court, possibly on Monday, for Lalu's bail," said the lawyer.

The CBI judge had convicted Lalu and 15 others in the fodder scam case RC 64A/96 on December 23, while acquitting six others accused, including ex-CM Dr Jagannath Mishra in the same case. Others who were acquitted last month included former Animal Husbandry department Minister Vidya Sagar Nishad, former Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Dhruv Bhagat and former Income Tax Commissioner AC Choudhary.

Besides Lalu, the four bureaucrats Beck Julius, K Arumugam, Mahesh Prasad and Phoolchand Singh, now retired, too were awarded jail sentence on Saturday. While Phoolchand Singh was the Finance Secretary, the other retired IAS officers were then Secretary of the Animal Husbandry Department during different periods when the embezzlement of fund took place in the 1990s.

Lalu has been 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. This case RC 64A/96 is related to fraudulent withdrawal of around Rs 90 lakh from 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.

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 Lok Sabha and a ban on contesting elections for six years after his jail term ends.

However, the Supreme Court granted him bail in December 2013. A trial against Lalu was revived this year after the apex court restored corruption charges, and, on May 8, asked the lower court to separately try the accused in Deoghar treasury case RC 64A/96 and complete the hearing within nine months. The judgement in this case has come around 21 years after fodder scam was unearthed.

 

 

 

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