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Thank you Nitish, says Tejashwi after Lalu jailed in fodder scam; BJP says law equal for all

A special CBI court sentenced Lalu Prasad to three-and-a-half years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh in a fodder scam case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar treasury 21 years ago.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2018 10:35 IST
Lalu Prasad Yadav‬,‪Fodder scam‬,‪Ranchi‬
Convicted former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad arrives at the special CBI court in Ranchi in connection with the fodder scam case. (Parwaz Khan / HT Photo)

Lalu Prasad was a victim of conspiracy by the BJP and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for his uncompromising stance against communal and fascist forces, his family said after the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief was jailed in a fodder scam case. The BJP and Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal (United) said the law was equal for all, and the sentence was a message to anyone who robs the country of its wealth.

Lalu Prasad’s younger son and Bihar’s leader of opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav called it a conspiracy, but added that they respected the verdict.

“This will not affect our party. Lalu ji is considered a mass leader and the people are with us. The Centre has misused the central agency. This is a conspiracy to break the RJD, but we will give a befitting reply at the right time. It is a challenging time for us, but we will fight back,” Tejashwi said.

Taking a dig at the chief minister, he posted on Twitter, “Thank you very much Nitish Kumar”, while Lalu Prasad wrote, “Rather than practising BJP’s Simple Rule - “Follow us or We will Fix you”. I will die happily fixing myself for Social justice, harmony & equality.

A special CBI court in Ranchi on Saturday sentenced Lalu Prasad to three-and-a-half years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on him in the fodder scam case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar treasury 21 years ago. On December 3, the court had convicted Lalu Prasad and 14 others in the case, and acquitted seven, including former chief minister Jagannath Mishra.

Tejashwi’s elder brother Tej Pratap rubbished suggestions that the party would split in the RJD chief’s absence.

Lalu Prasad, in a letter addressed to the people, recalled how he, as a champion of social justice, learnt to face false cases and harassment.

“Yes, Lalu is at fault for not compromising with the RSS, which promotes casteist and fascist forces. Why is that only backward and the deprived, are sent to jail?” he asked.

His wife, former chief minister Rabri Devi, also hit out at chief minister Nitish Kumar for hatching a conspiracy to defame her family and rob the people’s mandate by realigning with the BJP.

Congress leader and former law minister Ashwani Kumar said the court verdict was not the final decision. “The verdict of the trial court is not the final decision on the alleged culpability of Lalu Prasad whose long record of public service cannot be discounted while respecting the judicial process,” he said.

The BJP said the corrupt people had to face consequences of law.

“Public money was looted from the government treasury. These are out and out black and white cases of corruption. No amount of press conference is going to help the RJD politically,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.

“What is important to this country is that politicans who have indulged in brazen acts of corruption actually face consequences of law for their corrupt deeds.”

Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi tweeted, saying said the BJP’s charges against Lalu Prasad “were vindicated” by the court, and refuted charges that the RJD chief was targeted by the BJP.

BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said the verdict shows that the law was equal for all.

“The court has done its job, and this is a message that if anyone robs the country of its wealth, however important, then the law is equal for all. This is justice for the people of Bihar because it was their money that was looted,” Hussain told reporters.

Janata Dal (United) secretary general KC Tyagi said a new political chapter has begun with the court’s decision and it means politicians will be afraid of committing any such wrongdoing.

“It will now be difficult to keep the RJD together and people in politics will be fearful. This is the end of a chapter that started with Laluji’s leadership, where there was politics of corruption, nepotism and non-governance,” Tyagi told reporters.

Congress leader RPN Singh said the Bihar government should also show urgency in the Srijan scam, in which leaders of the ruling BJP are also allegedly involved.

“A big issue also arises that the Rs 2,000 crore Srijan scam and other scams happened in Bihar in which involvement of ruling party leaders has come to the fore. The government should also show the same urgency like fodder scam in probing those scams also,” he said.

First Published: Jan 07, 2018 10:18 IST