Ranchi CBI court convicts 18 fodder scam accused

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Ranchi, Dec 15 (ANI): A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court today convicted 18 people in connection with the fodder scam of the mid 1990's.

The convicted have been sent to two to six years' rigorous imprisonment.

Earlier in April this year, the CBI court had convicted 45 accused and sentenced 14 of them to three years rigorous imprisonment.

The fodder scam also known as "Chara Ghotala" was a corruption scandal that involved the alleged embezzlement of about Rs. 950 crore from a Bihar Government treasury.

The alleged theft spanned many years, and was engaged in by many Bihar state government administrative and elected officials across multiple administrations, and involved the fabrication of 'vast herds of fictitious livestock' for which fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured.

Although the scandal was exposed in 1996, the theft had been in progress, and was increasing in size, for over two decades.

In February 1985, the then Comptroller and Auditor General of India, T.N. Chaturvedi, took notice of delayed monthly account submissions by the Bihar state treasury and departments and wrote to the then Bihar Chief Minister, Chandrashekhar Singh, warning him that this could be indicative of temporary embezzlement.

This initiated a continuous chain of closer scrutiny and warnings by Principal Accountant Generals (PAGs) and CAGs to the Bihar Government across the tenures of multiple chief ministers (cutting across party affiliations), but the warnings were ignored in a manner that was suggestive of a pattern by extremely senior political and bureaucratic officials in the Bihar government.

In 1992, Bidhu Bhushan Dvivedi, a police inspector with the state's anti-corruption vigilance unit submitted a report outlining the fodder scam and likely involvement at the chief ministerial level to the director general of the same vigilance unit, G. Narayan.

In alleged reprisal, Dvivedi was transferred out of the vigilance unit to a different branch of the administration, and then suspended from his position. He was later to be a witness as corruption cases relating to the scam went to trial, and reinstated by order of the Jharkhand High Court.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and the then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad is also one of the accused in the Rs. 950 crore-scam.

The fodder scam was unearthed in Bihar in 1996 when Lalu Prasad was the Chief Minister of the state. He had resigned from the post in 1997 after a court issued an arrest warrant against him in connection with one of the cases. (ANI)

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