A special CBI court on Saturday sentenced RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to 3.5 years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh in the second case of fodder scam. The former chief minister of Bihar was convicted by the court on December 23, 2017, and has been lodged in Birsa Munda prison since then. This case relates to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar Treasury when Lalu was the chief minister of Bihar between 1991 and 1994.
Right after the verdict was announced by the court, a tweet from his handle said, “Rather than practising BJP’s Simple Rule – “Follow us or We will Fix you”. I will die happily fixing myself for Social justice, harmony & equality.” His twitter account is currently handled by his office in consultation with his family. An open letter by the RJD Chief was also tweeted by the account,
आप सबों के नाम ये पत्र लिख रहा हूँ और याद कर रहा हूँ अन्याय और ग़ैर बराबरी के खिलाफ.. pic.twitter.com/Ob4utoMsBb
— Lalu Prasad Yadav (@laluprasadrjd) January 6, 2018
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi welcomed the judgment. “Conviction is conviction. Either 3.5 yrs or 7 yrs. Our charges against Lalu has been vindicated by Court,” he said on Twitter. He also refuted the charges that Lalu was targeted by the government. “AR Kidwai ,Dev Gauda were not Bjp men when Lalu was prosecuted in Fodder Scam. H Court was monitoring the case .Lalu went to jail during his own rule.Where is bias?”
Reacting to the verdict, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav said that they would approach the High Court for the bail. “The judiciary performed its duty. We will go to the High Court after studying the sentence and apply for a bail,” said the former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. “Lalu is paying the price for his uncompromising stance against the BJP. Had he compromised, his detractors would have been comparing him to Raja Harishchandra,” he added. He dismissed suggestions the party may disintegrate with its top leader being behind the bars.
“The more we are harassed, the stronger will be the public support in our favour. Lalu resides in the people’s hearts. He is in jail, yet everybody is talking about him. The only reason is that the people of Bihar are with us and this scares our opponents.” He also attacked the Bihar’s ruling JD(U)-BJP combine, saying, “Let the double engine do something for the betterment of Bihar. They should set their own house in order instead of wasting their energy on the future of RJD.” Seconding with his brother, RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav was also confident about getting bail for Lalu. “We have full faith on the judiciary. We are not going to be cowed down,” he said, as reported by ANI.
K C Tyagi, the National Spokesperson of the Janata Dal (United), a former ally of RJD in the Grand Alliance government called the verdict, a “historic decision”. “We welcome this judgement, this will prove to be a historic decision in Bihar politics. It is the end of a chapter. It will now be difficult to keep the RJD together and people in politics will be fearful.”
BJP worker Shahnawaz Hussain said, “The Court has done its work and message has been sent across that anyone who tries to loot the nation is equal before the law. The verdict is a justice for the people of Bihar.” Sambit Patra, the spokesperson of the saffron party also took a jibe against Lalu Prasad’s judgment.
कुछ जेल में,कुछ बेल में।
मधु कोड़ा लालू जेल में
सोनिया राहुल बेल में
फिर भी कह रहा है ये
भ्रष्टों का गठबंधन
हम लड़ेंगे 2019 के
चुनावी खेल में???
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) January 6, 2018
Congress leader, RPN Singh after the judgment said, “Congress has always waged war against corruption. As far as the alliance is concerned, it is with RJD and not particular individuals,” reports news agency ANI.
Other convicts in the case include Phool Chand, Mahesh Prasad, Bake Julious, Sunil Kumar, Sushil Kumar, Sudhir Kumar and Raja Ram. They were also sentenced to 3.5 years in jail and a fine of Rs 5 lakh each was imposed. The Special CBI judge, Shivpal Singh, pronounced quantum of sentence via video conferencing. Lalu Prasad’s lawyer Prahbhat Kumar said they would seek bail for Lalu from Jharkhand High Court.
(With inputs from agencies)