Verdict in fourth fodder scam case involving Lalu Prasad today
A special CBI court in Ranchi will on Saturday pronounce the judgement in a fourth fodder scam case involving former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra and 29 others.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad had already been convicted in three fodder cases while Mishra was convicted in two fodder cases.
The court had on March 5 concluded the trial of the scam relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.76 crore from Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996 and fixed March 15 to pronounce the judgment.
However, a day before the verdict date, Prasad had moved an application raising doubts over the role of then accountant general PK Mukhopadhyay, then deputy accountant general BN Jha and then senior director general in the AG office Pramod Kumar, urging the court to make them accused in the case under provisions of Section 319 (Power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence) of the code of criminal procedure (CrPC). The court then deferred its judgment to decide Prasad’s petition.
On Friday, the court of special judge Shivpal Singh ruled that allegations against the three officials of AG office were grave in nature and based on oral and documentary evidences, they could be tried for hatching criminal conspiracy.
The court asked Prasad to obtain prosecution sanction against the three officials from authorities concerned within a month so that the court could proceed further against them. It fixed April 16 as the next date of hearing.
After allowing Prasad’s petition, the court fixed March 17 to pronounce judgment with respect to 31 accused.
Prasad, in his petition, had alleged that the comptroller and auditor general’s (CAG) report -- submitted to the unified Bihar government, for 1990-1991 to 1995-96 -- did not mention any excess/fraudulent withdrawals made from the animal husbandry department (AHD), indicating complicity of officials of AG office with the scamsters.
Prasad also submitted that then additional finance commissioner Shankar Prasad, who had initially investigated the fodder scam, in his report mentioned that he was threatened by a top official of the AG office who asked him to keep away from the fodder scam episode.
Prasad also mentioned the statements given by many CBI witnesses before the court during trial of scam cases to buttress his point.
He pointed out that CBI’s investigating officer AK Jha, in his testimony given before the court, had clearly mentioned that he had never investigated the roles of AG office in the scam.
“Jha had also explained that scam kingpin, late SB Sinha, the then regional director, AHD, had disclosed before him that he used to pay bribe to some official of AG office to manage the scam,” Prasad highlighted in his petition.
He also furnished an earlier report of CBI DSP John, who mentioned that continuation of fodder scam fraud for so long could not have been possible without some sort of connivance or negligence on part of the AG office and finance department.
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