Gujarat Global News Network,New Delhi
Rasthriya Janta Dal supremo and former Chief Minister of Bihar Laluprasad Yadav was sentenced for five years imprisonment in 17-year old famous fodder scam.
Lalu who is in jail since last three days pleaded before the judge to award him lesser sentence. Pleading for leniency moments after his conviction, Lalu, told the judge: “I was the chief minister of Bihar for two consecutive terms and a Union railway minister. Please consider awarding lesser punishment to me.”
The special CBI court delivered the verdict via video conference due to security reasons. Lalu has also been slapped a fine of Rs.25 lakh and in case of default he will have to serve extra six months. Another Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra was served four year sentence and Rs. 2 lakh fine.
Total 45 persons have been convicted in a case involving fraudulent withdrawal to the tune of Rs.37.7 crore from Chaibasa treasury in 1990s. It is just one of the many case in the Rs.950 crore animal husbandry scam in Bihar.
The court has also awarded 5-year jail term to bureaucrats BN Sharma, KM Prasad and Beck Julius. Former MLA RK Rana has been sentenced to 5 years in jail.
Lalu, who was convicted in the case on Monday along with 44 others, including former chief minister Jagannath Mishra is currently lodged in Birsa Munda Central Jail here.
The 65-year-old leader is certain to lose his Lok Sabha seat and also barred from contesting election for six years following the sentencing thanks to a Supreme Court order.
During the argument in the court today, Lalu's counsel pleaded a lenient sentence underlining that the former CM was a senior and law abiding citizen. Lalu's lawyer also argued he was too old and suffered from many diseases. On the other hand, CBI demanded maximum punishment 'which would act as deterrent in similar cases.'
The 17-year-old case involves fraudulent withdrawal to the tune of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa treasury in the 1990s.
There were a total of 56 accused in the case. But during the trial, seven accused died, two turned approvers, one admitted to the crime and one was discharged.
Judge PK Singh had fixed July 15 as the date for verdict, and had asked the remaining 45 accused to be present in the court.
Lalu Prasad moved the Jharkhand high court and later the Supreme Court, seeking change of the judge in the case. Both the courts dismissed his petition, and directed him to complete argument in the case before the CBI special court.
Lalu Prasad quit the chief minister's post in 1997 when his name figured in the CBI investigations in the scam, which surfaced in 1996.
Around 54 of the 61 cases were transferred to Jharkhand, after it was created as a separate state from Bihar in November 2000. Different CBI courts have passed judgments in more than 43 cases. Former CMs Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra are accused in five cases.
Key politicians in the case apart from Lalu and Mishra are former AHD minister, Vidya Sagar Nishad, Chandradeo Prasad Verma, former JDU MP, Jagdish Sharma, former RJD MP, RK Rana and former BJP MLA Dhruv Bhagat, while bureaucrats convicted in the case are Phulchand Singh, Mahesh Prasad, Beck Julius and K Arumugham.
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