Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) patriarch and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav appeared before a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court in Ranchi Jharkhand in connection with the fodder scam case.
Lalu’s counsel Prabhat Kumar told ANI, “The case is pertaining to RC38A/1996, in which there are a total of 48 accused and most of them were evading personal appearance. That is why all the accused had been ordered by the court to appear before it.”
“So far 15-17 accused have marked their presence in the court, and more are expected to visit. The court will take legal action against those who failed to comply with its order,” Kumar added.
The fodder scam relates to fraudulent withdrawal of around 1,000 crore rupees by the Animal Husbandry department from various districts when Lalu was the Bihar chief minister from 1990 to 1997.
On October 3, 2013, Lalu was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in another case of fodder scam by a special CBI court, which had disqualified him from membership of Parliament and also rendered him ineligible for contesting elections for 11 years.
Besides Lalu, six other politicians and four retired IAS officers were also sentenced to prison terms for fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa treasury (now in Jharkhand) when Lalu was heading the Janta Dal government in the early 1990s in erstwhile Bihar.
Meanwhile, with important files related to the fodder scam reportedly missing from the animal and fisheries resources department office in Patna, Union Minister and BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy alleged that this was all being done to get a clean-chit for RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav by his partner in crime Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Rudy said this is all being done by the incumbent grand alliance government in Bihar to facilitate Lalu’s acquittal.
“The missing files signify there are people in the system trying to get a clean-chit for Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav. Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar are friends and they are partners in crime,” he told ANI.
Rudy recalled that the RJD boss had to quit as the Bihar chief minister in 1997 because he was charged and sentenced in the fodder scam.
“Thereafter, the CBI chargesheeted him. He was put behind the bars. He had to quit his position as the chief minister,” he said.
“There are reports that the file pertaining to the Fodder scam has been stolen. And it clearly emphasises that there are people in the system who possibly would be working to give a clean-chit or to assist or facilitate the acquittal of Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav,” he added.
Continuing his tirade against the Nitish-Lalu duo, Rudy said crime has increased in Bihar, adding the state government has begun to protect the criminals.
“It seems it’s a part of that very same chain. We are all very concerned that the process of law and the process of justice will stand vitiated if such incidents happen where the files pertaining to fodder scam are stolen,” he added.
Meanwhile, an FIR has been registered at the Old Secretariat police station in this regard.
The fodder scam involved the embezzlement of about Rs. 9.4 billion from the government treasury of Bihar.