A month after he was convicted in the second fodder scam case, former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad was on Wednesday convicted in the third case by a special CBI court in Ranchi.
Another former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra was also convicted. Both Lalu and Mishra were sentenced to five-year rigorous imprisonment under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, along with a cumulative fine of Rs 10 lakh. Mishra, whose wife died recently, was not in court and was held guilty in absence.
His counsel Rakesh Jha said, “We apprised the court… it decided to pronounce the sentence and quantum of punishment. His bail bond has been cancelled. At present, he is busy with the last rites and is also unwell. In such cases, the court issues a warrant, which has to be complied by a certain date. We will follow the court’s direction.”
Mishra had been acquitted in the Deoghar treasury case in the verdict pronounced on December 23, 2017. Lalu was convicted and sentenced to three-and-a-half-years of rigorous imprisonment. He has applied for bail in the High Court in the second case.
Wednesday’s verdict by Special CBI Judge Swarn Shankar Prasad relates to fraudulent withdrawal of funds to the tune of Rs 37.62 crore from the treasury of West Singhbhum (Chaibasa) — now in Jharkhand — in 1992-93.
The women accused in the case — Madhu Mehta, Chanchala Sinha, Anita Prasad and Nirmala Prasad, all suppliers — were sentenced to three-year terms, with a Rs 50,000 fine. Along with others, who were given similar sentences, they were allowed bail immediately by furnishing two sureties of Rs 20,000 each.
Of 56 accused, at least six — Sudev Rana, Mukesh Kumar Srivastava, Dr Ram Prakash Ram, Seema Kumar, Vimla Sharma and Ram Avatar Sharma — were acquitted. Apart from Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra, all other politicians accused were also convicted.
Former BJP MLA Dhruv Bhagat and RJD leader Vidyasagar Nishad were sentenced to three-years with Rs 1.5 lakh fine.
Former chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee Jagdish Sharma and former RJD MP R K Rana were sentenced to five-year rigorous imprisonment.
IAS officers Phool Chand Singh, Sajal Chakraborty (then Deputy Commissioner of Chaibasa) and Mahesh Prasad were sentenced to four-year RI with Rs 2 lakh (cumulative) fine for each.
Animal Husbandry Department officials Arjun Sharma, B N Sharma, K M Prasad, Dr K N Jha, Sunil Kumar, Vimal Agarwal and Harish Kumar were sentenced to five-year RI with Rs 10 lakh (cumulative) fine. Treasury officer Silas Tirkey also got identical sentence.