New Delhi: A special CBI court in Ranchi on Saturday sentenced Lalu Prasad and 7 others, namely Phool Chand, Mahesh Prasad, Bake Julious, Sunil Kumar, Sushil Kumar, Sudhir Kumar and Raja Ram, to 3.5 years imprisonment and Rs5 lakh fine each in the second fodder scam case.

The quantum of sentence was announced by the CBI court after a delay of two days via video conferencing.

On 23 December, a special CBI court in Ranchi had convicted former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad and 15 others in the second of six fodder scam cases. Post verdict, Prasad was taken into custody and taken to the Birsa Munda Prison in Ranchi.

Special CBI court judge, Shivpal Singh had acquitted six others, including former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra in the case.

The 900-crore fodder scam was unraveled more twenty years ago in January 1996 and charge-sheet was filed against Prasad as on of the accused persons in June 1997 by CBI. Trial began before the special CBI court, Ranchi in February 2002. The conviction in this case pertains to embezzling of more than Rs89 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.

In 2013, Prasad was convicted in the first fodder scam case and was sentenced to five years imprisonment along with a fine of Rs25 lakh by another special CBI court. After spending two months in jail, Supreme Court granted bail to Prasad in the first fodder scam case. However, it did cost him his Lok Sabha seat.

Mishra and Janata Dal-United leader Jagdish Sharma were also convicted in the first fodder scam case and were awarded four years imprisonment each. The first fodder case was related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs37.70 crore from the Chaibasa district treasury when Bihar was an undivided state.

Soon after the announcement of quantum of punishment, RJD leaders said that they would appeal against the sentence in a higher court.

“The judiciary performed its duty. We will go to the High Court after studying the sentence and apply for a bail," said Tejashwi Yadav, RJD leader and son of Lalu Prasad.

Meanwhile, leaders of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) said that the stand of the alliance was vindicated by the punishment announced by the court.

“Conviction is conviction.Either 3.5 years or 7 years. Our charges against Lalu has been vindicated by Court," said Sushil Modi, deputy chief minister of Bihar. NDA’s partner, JDU, also said the judgment was historic for the politics of Bihar. “We welcome this judgement, this will prove to be a historic decision in Bihar politics. It is the end of a chapter," said K.C. Tyagi,JDU leader.

PTI contributed to the story.

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