A special court of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday sentenced former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to 3 years and six months in jail in one of the six cases in the fodder scam. He was also fined Rs500,000, ANI reported.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Jagdish Sharma was also sentenced to seven years in jail and fined Rs1 million, News18 reported. Judge Shivpal Singh pronounced the quantum of sentence for the convicts via video conferencing.
After Yadav’s sentence was pronounced, his son Tejashwi Yadav told the media that the judiciary had done its duty. “We will go to the High Court after studying the sentence and apply for a bail,” he said.
The CBI court in Ranchi, the state capital of Jharkhand in northeast India, was to sentence Yadav on Wednesday, but postponed it then because of the death of advocate Vindeshwari Prasad. The bench postponed the sentencing on Thursday and Friday, as well.
This is the second case in the scam and is connected with the alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 8.4 million from the Deoghar, a holy city in the state of Jharkhand, treasury between 1994 and 1996, when Yadav was Bihar’s chief minister. The scam, exposed in 1996, involved around Rs1,000 crore being embezzled from the state exchequer for the purchase of fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle between 1990 and 1997.
On December 23, 2017, the CBI court found Yadav guilty in one of the six fodder scam cases. It also convicted 14 other accused in the case. The Rashtriya Janata Dal chief has been lodged at the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi since his conviction. The court acquitted seven accused in the case, including another former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra.
Yadav’s advocate on Friday had filed a petition seeking minimum punishment for his client on health grounds. “I have no role in this scam directly,” Yadav said in the plea. “Consider minimum punishment keeping in view my age and health grounds.”
The counsel for the investigative agency had sought the “maximum possible sentence” to those convicted so that “no one tries to commit such a heinous crime” again.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal on Friday denied claims made by the judge a day before that he had received many “references” from Yadav’s supporters, PTI reported. The party claimed that Yadav’s political opponents impersonating RJD supporters might have made the phone calls to Singh. Nobody from the party made such calls, the RJD said.