Aditya Vaibhav: Pronouncing the quantum of punishment on former Bihar (then unified) CM and now RJD patriarch Lalu Prasad who was pronounced guilty for his role in financial embezzlement relating to fodder scam on Monday last, a Ranchi CBI Court on Saturday awarded him another jail term of seven years.
CBI judge Shiv Pal Singh awarded two separate sentences of seven years each to Lalu under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Acts in sequence with the fourth case relating to illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from Dumka treasury in connection to the fodder scam.
Fifth case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 139 crore from Doranda treasury, Ranchi, is still pending with the court.
Fodder scam was a corruption scandal involving the embezzlement of somewhere above Rs 9.4 billion from the government treasury of then unified Bihar. Among those implicated in the misappropriation and arrested include Lalu Prasad, Jagannath Mishra and Sajal Chakraborty.
The scandal led to the end of what CM Nitish Kumar described as Lalu’s “jungle raj” and spanned for many years, and involved numerous Bihar state’s administrative and elected officials across multiple administrations of the Congress and successive governments. The modus operandi involved the fabrication of “vast herds of fictitious livestock” for which fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured.
Although the scandal broke comprehensively in 1996, a group of freshly recruited animal husbandry officials had been running pillar to post crying foul since 1983. The scam was in progress, and increased in size, for over two decades.
The Supreme Court revived the case against Lalu on May last after which the special CBI court in November last convicted former Jharkhand chief secretary, Sajal Chakraborty, to five years’ imprisonment in connection with the scam. He was also charged with a fine of Rs 4 lakh.
Chakraborty was found guilty of accepting a laptop for remaining quiet when the funds were misused and he was the deputy commissioner of Chaibasa district in Jharkhand.