Updated: February 16, 2022 6:39:53 am
A CBI court in Ranchi Tuesday convicted former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad in the fifth fodder scam case that pertains to the illegal withdrawal of Rs 139.5 crore from the Doranda treasury.
The court will hear arguments on the quantum of his sentence on February 21 and pass an order the same day.
The ailing Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, 73, was sent to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, on Tuesday evening after being taken into custody.
He had sought the court’s permission to stay at a paying ward of the hospital, citing his poor health. Following this, Special Judge S K Sashi Tuesday asked the superintendent of Birsa Munda jail to look into the matter, according to Lalu’s counsel Prabhat Kumar.
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The judge Tuesday convicted a total of 75 people while acquitting 24 accused in connection with the embezzlement that took place in Ranchi in 1995-1996 — when Lalu was the chief minister of undivided Bihar.
Lalu has already been convicted in the previous four cases and is currently out on bail, mainly on account of having already served half of the sentence. One more case — pertaining to the illegal withdrawal of money from the Bank-Bhagalpur treasury — is pending before the CBI court in Patna, Bihar.
According to court records, the charge in the fifth case was framed against the accused persons on September 26, 2005. The prosecution evidence was closed on May 16, 2019. The statements of the accused persons were recorded on January 16, 2020.
Defence Counsel Kumar said: “The court awarded three years of maximum punishment to 34 accused and fined them in the range of Rs 20,000 to Rs 2 lakh. The arguments on point of sentence for 41 accused including Lalu Prasad will be done on February 21 and the order will be passed on the same day.”
The fodder scam, pegged at Rs 950 crore, was first unearthed by the then Chaibasa deputy commissioner Amit Khare.
The Animal Husbandry Department had allegedly issued fake bills for large disbursements from government treasuries in various districts of undivided Bihar.
Prasad also held the finance portfolio then.
Defence Counsel Kumar said: “We had filed a petition to the court seeking direction to place Lalu Prasad in RIMS paying ward, stating that his medical condition is critical. We had placed before the court AIIMS, Delhi’s advice which had recommended doctor consultation every four hours and daily monitoring of urine level. This was not possible in jail, hence we had put in an application. The Judge, after reading our application, forwarded the same to the jail superintendent.”
The RJD chief suffers from multiple ailments, including renal problems.
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