Ranchi: Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Yadav and his longtime aide, Jagannath Mishra were sentenced to five years in jail and a Rs. 5 lakh fine each in a third fodder scam case today. Yadav is already serving a jail term in the second fodder scam case. Verdicts in two more cases against him are expected over the next few months.
The fodder scam involved the embezzlement of more than Rs. 970 crore in government funds during Lalu Yadav’s term as the Chief Minister of undivided Bihar from 1990 to 1997. The latest case involves the siphoning of Rs. 33.67 crore from the Chaibasa treasury against an allocation of Rs. 7.10 lakh in 1992-93. Yadav was named as the main conspirator by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Yadav’s son, Tejashwi, who is the Leader of the opposition in Bihar Assembly, said that the party would appeal in the high court against the conviction and, if necessary, in the Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, Yadav was sent to jail over fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 89 lakh from the Deoghar district treasury between 1990 and 1994. Sentenced to a three-and-a-half-year in prison, Yadav has applied for bail. The hearing is on.
The 69-year-old, who is at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda jail, has turned down the offer of the judge to shift him to an open jail — cottages where prisoners can stay with their families. He told the judge that it might be difficult to keep law and order there since his supporters would insist on accompanying him there.
He also asked judge Shivpal Singh, who is hearing one of the two other fodder scam cases, the Dumka treasury case, to be “lenient” next time.
The trial in the Dumka Treasury case, involving fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 3.31 crore from Dumka treasury, is in its final stages. In the Doranda Treasury case, the trial is still on.
Lalu Yadav was also convicted in the first case of fodder scam four years ago and got bail after staying in prison for two months. After his second conviction — announced by a Ranchi court last December — Yadav and his party cried foul, calling it political vendetta. Yadav’s party had been shunted out of power last year after Nitish Kumar dumped the Grand Alliance with him and the Congress and entered a partnership with the BJP.