Lalu Prasad Yadav gets five-year jail term in fifth fodder scam case

A special CBI court in Ranchi Monday sentenced former Bihar chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to five years of imprisonment in the fifth fodder scam case, pertaining to illegal withdrawal of money from the Doranda treasury.

Special Judge SK Sashi on February 15 convicted Lalu Prasad and 74 others, and acquitted 24 accused in the illegal withdrawal of Rs 139.35 crore from the Doranda treasury of Ranchi in 1995-96.

Lalu Prasad, 74, is currently at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi paying ward citing his ill health.

In the fifth case, the court had awarded three years of maximum punishment to 34 accused and fined them in the range of Rs 20,000 to Rs 2 lakh. The sentencing of 41 accused, including Lalu Prasad was awarded Monday through video conferencing. The maximum fine was Rs 2 crore, as per the lawyers.

The sentencing assumes significance as in the current case Lalu Prasad has already undergone a judicial custody period of three years and nineteen days. One of the defence lawyers, Anant Kumar Vij said: “The judge pronounced five years of jail term, of which he has already undergone three years and nineteen days. Since he has already undergone half of the jail term, we will file a petition in the high court to grant him bail.”

Lalu Prasad had already been convicted in the previous four cases. One more case is pending before CBI Patna, pertaining to illegal withdrawal of money from the Banka-Bhagalpur treasury.

According to the court records, the charge in this case was framed against the accused persons on September 26, 2005 and the prosecution evidence was closed on May 16, 2019. The statements of accused persons were recorded on January 16, 2020 and the conviction happened February 15, 2022.

The RJD chief was convicted in the first fodder scam case in 2013 and awarded five years in jail related to Chaibasa illegal withdrawal of cases. The conviction also barred him from contesting elections for 11 years, in line with the Supreme Court order disqualifying convicts jailed for more than two years from contesting for six years after completion of their sentence.

Later, he got bail in the case. Lalu was convicted by a special CBI court in the second case on December 23, 2017 for the illegal withdrawal of more than Rs 80 lakh from Deoghar treasury and awarded three-and-half years’ imprisonment. He was convicted in the third case on January 24, 2018 related to fraudulent withdrawals from the Chaibasa treasury worth Rs 33.67 crore and awarded a five-year jail term. The fourth one, into the illegal withdrawal from Dumka treasury to the tune of Rs 3.13 crore, and was awarded for seven years of imprisonment, was on March 4, 2018.

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