New Delhi: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ranchi convicted Lalu Prasad in a fourth fodder scam case on Monday, giving no respite to the beleaguered Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and former Bihar chief minister.
Other than Prasad, former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra and 29 others, including former Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers, were accused of fraudulently withdrawing Rs3.13 crore from the Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996.
The court acquitted Mishra. The quantum of punishment for those convicted will be decided by the court on 21, 22 and 23 March.
On 24 January, Prasad was convicted by the special CBI court in Ranchi in the third fodder scam case.
Prasad is already serving a jail term of 13.5 years in the three fodder cases and is currently lodged in the Birsa Munda jail in Ranchi.
Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi, their daughter Misa Bharti and son Tejashwi Yadav are already grappling with corruption and money laundering charges brought by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), for irregularities in the award of a tender for the development, maintenance and operation of hotels at Ranchi and Puri during Prasad’s tenure as railway minister in 2004.
Monday’s conviction dealt a further blow to the family.
“I was expecting acquittal. It disappointed us. But we respect the verdict and have faith in judiciary," Rabri Devi told reporters in Patna.
The Rs900 crore fodder scam dates back two decades to when the CBI filed a chargesheet against 38 persons on 27 October 1997. Eleven of them have since died, three turned approvers while two others confessed and were convicted in 2006-07, a CBI official said.
In 2013, a special CBI court sentenced Prasad to five years in prison for fraudulently withdrawing Rs37.8 crore from the Bihar government treasury for fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle over a period of 20 years. Prasad was barred from contesting elections and lost his Lok Sabha seat.
The RJD supremo spent two months in jail before he got bail from the Supreme Court after challenging his conviction. The court ruling on his challenge is awaited.
During the second fodder scam conviction in December 2017, special CBI court judge Shivpal Singh had held Prasad and 15 others guilty of embezzling Rs89.27 lakh from Deoghar treasury between 1991 and 1994.