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Lalu Prasad gets 14-year jail term, slapped with Rs 60 lakh fine in 4th fodder scam case

A CBI court last week convicted RJD chief Lalu Prasad and 18 others in the case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.76 crore from Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2018 22:35 IST
Bedanti Saran
Bedanti Saran
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Lalu Prasad,Lalu Prasad jail,Dunka treasury case
Former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav leaves a special CBI court after being pronounced guilty in the fourth multi-crore fodder scam case, in Ranchi on Monday. (PTI)

A special CBI court in Ranchi on Saturday sentenced Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad to 14 years in prison and slapped a fine of Rs 60 lakh on him in connection with the fourth fodder scam case out of the six lodged against him 22 years ago.

The court of special judge Shivpal Singh on March 19 had held Prasad guilty under conspiracy and corruption charges in the scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.76 crore from the Dumka treasury during the period of December 1995 to January 1996. It had, however, acquitted 11 accused, including former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra and four other politicians, and fixed March 24 to pronounce the quantum of sentences to the convicted persons.

Prasad has been serving jail term in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail since December 23 last year after his conviction in two other fodder scam cases. He was shifted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi, last week after he complained of chest pain.

On Saturday, the court communicated the sentence to the convicts, who are in jail, through video conferencing facility. Since Prasad is in hospital, the court communicated the quantum of punishment to his lawyer.

It awarded seven years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) to Prasad under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and a separate seven years of RI under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act. The court said both the sentences would run consecutively meaning thereby that Prasad would have to serve a total of 14 years in prison in this case.

It also slapped a fine of Rs 60 lakh on Prasad. The default in payment of the fine amount would result in another two years of simple imprisonment.

“This is for the first time in the history of the fodder scam cases that the court announced that punishments awarded under the IPC and PC Act would run consecutively. In all other 50 fodder scam cases disposed of till date, the sentences given under the two laws run concurrently,” said Prasad’s advocate Prabhat Kumar.

Kumar said that 14 years of rigorous imprisonment was the highest punishment ever given to any of the nearly 1500 convicts of fodder scam cases. “We will soon file an appeal against the verdict in the Jharkhand high court,” he added.

Besides Prasad, the court awarded similar punishment of 14 years and 60 lakh fine to O P Diwakar, the then regional director, animal husbandry department (AHD). It handed down varied jail terms ranging from seven years to 3.5 years and different fine amounts to the remaining 17 convicts.

Prasad’s first conviction in the fodder scam came on September 30, 2013, in the Chaibasa treasury case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.70 crore. He was given five years in prison leading to his disqualification from the Lok Sabha membership. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in December later that year.

His trouble resumed last year when a special CBI court on December 23 convicted him in the second fodder scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar treasury. Prasad was sentenced to 3.5 years of jail term in this case. A month later on January 24, another CBI court convicted and sentenced him to five years of imprisonment in Chaibasa treasury case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.13 crore.

Prasad is still facing trial in the last case in Jharkhand. This is the biggest fodder scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 139 crore from Ranchi’s Doranda treasury and involving 120 accused.

First Published: Mar 24, 2018 11:39 IST