Lalu Prasad convicted in third fodder scam case | All you need to know
The Rs 950-crore fodder scam, in which RJD chief Lalu Prasad faces more than 8 years in prison, dates back to the 1980s.india Updated: Jan 24, 2018 13:54 IST
A court in Ranchi on Wednesday convicted former Bihar Chief Ministers Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra and former Jharkhand chief secretary Sajjal Chakravarty in a fodder scam case. Here are five points to know about the scam.
* The Rs 950-crore fodder scandal occurred in the mid-nineties when huge sums of money were withdrawn from various government treasuries in undivided Bihar by creating on paper herds of cattle for whom fodder, medicines and equipment were shown as brought. As many as 53 cases were filed. Lalu has been convicted for the third time and faces another case. Mishra and Chakravarty have been convicted the second time. Lalu was chief minister of Bihar between 1990 and 1997. Mishra was the state’s chief minister three times, his last tenure was between 1989 and 1990.
*For 14 years, a total of Rs 950 crore was looted from the state’s animal husbandry department. It’s the ingenuity with which the money was siphoned that is breathtaking. Receipts for fodder were conjured out of thin air: According to a government record — voucher (no 430) dated 12/85 — four bulls were transported from Ranchi to Ghagra in a vehicle bearing registration no. BHN-9231. The ferry vehicle turned out to be a scooter. In another instance, a car bearing registration no. BHV-5777 was used to carry four bulls from Ranchi to Jhinkapani. Mishra and Lalu presided over the loot through a nexus of gung-ho bureaucrats and suppliers willing to manufacture bills out of thin air.
* The scam first took root in 1983-84, when the Bihar government sanctioned Rs 15 lakh to the regional office of the animal husbandry department at Ranchi for the purchase and distribution of bulls and their fodder among the tribal population spread over seven blocks of Ranchi, then a part of Bihar. The bulls were never purchased, but fake receipts for their purchase were made.
* The word scam first appeared in a 1990 audit report by a deputy accountant general. Scooters, cars, jeeps, tankers and station wagons were shown to have been used to transport bulls, cows and goats worth Rs 30 crore to remote locations of Ranchi under a tribal sub plan.
* Finally, in January 1996, the scam tumbled out, when Amit Khare, deputy commissioner, West Singhbhum smelt a rat and visited the animal husbandry department. “I found bills and vouchers scattered all over. We even found cash strewn all over the place. I sealed the office and ordered the treasury not to make any further payments,” Khare recalled in October 2013.
Lalu was convicted in the first fodder scam case on September 30, 2013. He was removed from Parliament and knocked out of electoral politics for six years.