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Fodder scam: Lalu's total jail term in three judgements amount to 13.5 years

By Vikas

The fodder scam cost Lalu Prasad Yadav his political career. Because of his three convictions so far in this case he had to step down from the post of Bihar Chief Minister in 1997, lost his Lok Sabha seat and is also barred from contesting election for six years following the sentencing due to an earlier Supreme Court order.

Lalu Prasad Yadav

Lalu Yadav was first convicted in a fodder scam case in 2013 and was awarded five years' imprisonment.

On Wednesday, a special CBI court awarded five years in jail and a fine of Rs 10 lakh to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in a third fodder scam case. Special CBI court judge S S Prasad had earlier convicted Lalu and 50 other accused in the case, which pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.67 crore from Chaibasa treasury in 1992-1993. Former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra was also found guilty and awarded a five-year jail term for embezzling funds from the Chaibasa treasury.

[Fodder scam: Lalu Prasad Yadav found guilty in third case; sentenced to five years]

Lalu, who is currently lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail of Ranchi, was on December 23, 2017, convicted for 3.5 years in the second fodder scam case. Although he was convicted on December 23, the quantum sentence was pronounced on 6th January 2018.

[Fodder scam case: Lalu sentenced to 3.5 years in jail, can't take bail in Ranchi court]

He faces another two scam cases for illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.97 crore from the Dumka Treasury and Rs 184 crore from the Doranda Treasury. Lalu has now been convicted in three fodder scam cases out of a total of six in which he has been facing trial.

So, according to judgements pronounced till date, the total jail term for the RJD chief amounts to 13.5 years.

Altogether 61 cases were filed by the CBI in the scam, 53 of which were transferred from Bihar to Jharkhand after the bifurcation of the state in November 2000.

The 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.

[Lalu's sentencing: Don't miss the humour in court]

It first came to light in 1985 by the then CAG TN Chaturvedi, who noticed that monthly accounts submission from Bihar treasury were always delayed.

Here is a timeline of fodder scam case:

January 1996: The scam surfaces after Deputy Commissioner Amit Khare raids the offices of the Animal Husbandry Department and seizes documents that showed syphoning of funds by non-existent companies in the name of supplying fodder.

March 11, 1996: The Patna High Court directs the CBI to probe the scam. The Supreme Court upholds the order.

March 27, 1996: The CBI registers an FIR in the Chaibasa Treasury case.

June 23, 1997: The CBI files a charge sheet and makes Lalu Yadav and 55 others as accused in the case. Sixty-three cases were registered under IPC Sections 420 (forgery) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and Section 13 (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

July 30, 1997: Lalu Yadav surrenders before a CBI court and sent to judicial custody.

April 5, 2000: Charges framed before the special CBI court. Rabri Devi's name included as co-accused. She was granted bail, Lalu's bail plea rejected and he was remanded in judicial custody.

October 5, 2001: The Supreme Court transfers the scam cases to Jharkhand after the creation of the new State.

February, 2002: Trial begins in the Ranchi special CBI court.

December 2006: Prasad and Rabri Devi acquitted of charges in the disproportionate assets case filed by the CBI

June 2007: The special CBI court in Ranchi sentences 58 persons, including two nephews of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, to jail terms ranging from two-and-a-half years to six years for fraudulently withdrawing Rs. 48 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury in the 1990s.

March 2012: Six months after their appearance before the Special CBI court, charges are framed against Lalu Yadav and Jagannath Mishra. The court charges the former with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 47 lakh from the treasuries at Banka and Bhagalpur districts, where alleged forged and fake bills were drawn by the Animal Husbandry Department in 1995-96 when he was the Chief Minister.

August 13, 2013: The Supreme Court rejects Lalu's plea seeking the transfer of the trial court judge hearing the case.

September 17, 2013: The Special CBI court reserves its judgment.

September 30, 2013: Lalu Yadav and Mishra, along with 45 others are convicted by Special CBI Judge Pravas Kumar Singh. Lalu stands disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha following the verdict. The two cannot contest any election, including those of the Assembly/Council, for six years from the date of their release from jail.

November 2014: The CBI challenges the order of the Jharkhand High Court quashing four pending fodder scam cases against Mr Prasad on the grounds that a person convicted in one case could not be tried in similar cases based on same witnesses and evidence. The court upholds the CBI plea to continue proceedings in the trial court against Mr Prasad under two sections.

November 2016: The Supreme Court pulls up Mr Mishra for allegedly dragging and delaying the appeal filed by the CBI challenging the quashing of four pending fodder scam cases against him.

May 2017: The Supreme Court holds that Mr Prasad and other accused persons, including Mishra, will be tried separately for corruption in a criminal case involving the withdrawal of Rs. 84.53 lakh and falsification of records from the Deoghar Treasury in 1991-94

December 23, 2017: A special CBI court in Ranchi convicts Lalu Yadav in the second fodder scam case. The quantum of sentence was pronounced on January 6, 2018, in which he was awarded 3.5 years jail term.

January 24, 2018: Lalu Yadav convicted in third fodder scam case and awarded five years jail term.

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