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Hearing on fodder scam case on Lalu along with other six to be taken up today

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(G.N.S) Dt. 05
Ranchi
– Citing his age and health, Lalu’s counsel seeks minimum punishment
– Court deferred quantum of sentence for second time as arguments completed for only four of 16 convicts
The special CBI court hearing the Rs 950 crore Bihar fodder scam case concluded arguments on the quantum of sentence for five convicts Thursday, including RJD chief and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. Hearing on the remaining six will be taken up on Saturday.
The hearing today was conducted through video conference and the order on the sentence will also be pronounced through video conference.
Earlier today, Lalu Prasad’s counsel, citing his age and health, moved a plea Friday before the special court in Ranchi seeking minimum punishment.
Lalu Prasad, in his plea, said: “I have no role in this scam directly; consider minimum punishment keeping in view my age and health grounds.”
On Thursday, the court deferred pronouncing the quantum of sentence for the second time as arguments were completed for only four of the 16 convicts. CBI judge Shivpal Singh said he would decide on Friday whether the sentence would be given over video-conferencing or in court.
Meanwhile, RJD leader and Bihar unit chief Ramchandra Purve said Lalu will attend RJD’s “crucial meeting” tomorrow.
“Lalu Prasad Yadav has blessings of the almighty and we have faith that he will get justice. I am sure our Chief Lalu ji will attend RJD’s crucial meeting tomorrow,” he added.
On Wednesday, RJD leaders Tejashwi Yadav, Raghuvansh Singh, Shivanand Tiwari and Congress leader Manish Tiwari were held in contempt of court for their statements to the media following Lalu’s conviction. The court has sought their responses by January 23.
The fodder scam case pertains to the embezzlement of Rs 950 crore from government treasury funds to non-existent companies for the purchase and supply of cattle fodder in Bihar. The scam was unearthed in the mid-90s when Lalu was Chief Minister of the state. The court had, however, found Lalu’s predecessor and former chief minister Jagannath Mishra not guilty and acquitted him of all the charges. In the first fodder scam case, Lalu was sentenced to five years in jail. The RJD chief’s conviction has debarred him from contesting in elections for 11 years, in line with the Supreme Court judgment which forbids those awarded a jail term of more than two years from contesting.

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