The courts 568-page order in the fodder scam case,RC 20(A)/96,has 63 pages dedicated to explaining the role of RJD chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad.
The pith and substance of the allegation against accused Lalu Prasad being that being chief minister-cum-finance minister of the state,he was having full knowledge of money being siphoned off by Animal Husbandry Department (AHD) officials from various treasuries of Bihar,on the pretext of purchase of feed/fodder,medicines and instruments. He gave protection,patronage and incentive to the scamsters,and,in lieu of that,he received hefty payoffs and hospitalities… from them, the court summarised in its order.
Prasad was convicted for offences under Sections 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 420 (cheating),409 (criminal breach of trust),467,468,471 (forgery) and 477A (falsification of accounts) of the Indian Penal Code,and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (criminal misconduct by public servant).
Initiating certain enquiries,making some queries here and there,and by getting the case registered by the local police… when it became almost impossible to justify and suppress the fraud,proves the mala fide intention of the chief minister and nothing else, said Special Judge Pravas Kumar Singh in his order.
The matter could have been stopped at an early stage. Instead of taking a concrete step,Prasad kept on justifying the action and inaction of the AHD officials and other bureaucrats,and thereby aided and abetted the offence, he added.
On then Opposition leader Jagannath Mishras involvement,the court said: The matter of extension of AHD scam kingpin Dr S B Sinha will show that the CM and the leader of opposition were unanimous in the matter of granting extension of service to S B Sinha. The discussion will show that in the matter of giving patronage to the AHD scamsters,there was no difference between the ruling party and the opposition.
Stating that Mishra was playing a friendly game with Prasad,the court said: It has been submitted that both of them were gratifying each other under veil and criticising in public… in this game,both were helping the smooth functioning of the scam,only the general public was being be-fooled.
The court said Prasads acts added up to a conspiracy. …cumulative effect of the proved circumstances should be taken into account in determining the guilt of the accused rather than adopting an isolated approach to each of the circumstance. I have given anxious consideration while making scrutiny of the prosecution evidence that a clear case of criminal conspiracy is established, wrote the judge.