A special CBI court is set to pronounce its verdict on sentencing RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav convicted in the multi crore fodder scam on Thursday. Though the court was supposed to pronounce its verdict today, the order has been postponed till tomorrow as the concerned advocate Vindheswari Prasad passed away.
On December 23, the (RJD) chief along with 14 others was found guilty by the court while seven accused including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra were acquitted.
Lalu has been convicted in one of the cases of the fodder scam, wherein Rs 900 crore from the Bihar exchequer were siphoned off under the pretext of purchasing fodder for livestock, during the 80s and ’90s.
Lawyers said Lalu Prasad can be awarded three to seven years in prison. The veteran politician’s lawyer said he will press for minimum punishment. “Lalu is 70 years old and suffering from many diseases. We will seek minimum punishment for him,” he said.
Lalu Yadav, a harsh critic of the ruling BJP, has alleged that he is a victim of political vengeance. Last year, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dissolved his alliance with Lalu Yadav and the Congress and partnered with the BJP instead.
The fodder scam case is regarding large-scale embezzlement of government funds, made by producing fake bills to substantiate payments that were never made. The scam took its notorious name from the fact that it was rooted in the animal and husbandry department of Bihar government and the fraudulent transactions were made in the name of procuring cattle feed over a period of 20 years, under successive regimes.
After the 1985 incident, the case resurfaced in a big way for the first time in 1996 when the state finance secretary VS Dubey started looking into the matter and ordered inspections across all districts. A massive raid on the animal husbandry department at Chaibasa uncovered a stash of documents showing illegal withdrawals from the state treasury.