(G.N.S) Dt. 19
– RJD calls it ‘Modi-Nitish game’
A special CBI court in Ranchi on Monday pronounced Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav guilty in the fourth fodder scam case pertaining to alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.5 crore from the Dumka treasury (which is now in Jharkhand) over two decades ago. The court, however, acquitted Jagannath Mishra in the case. Mishra, a former Bihar CM, was also acquitted in the second fodder scam case on December 23 last year. A special CBI court in Ranchi convicted RJD chief Lalu Prasad in yet another scam case in Dumka, now in Jharkhand, and acquitted former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra in the case. The quantum of sentence is likely to be pronounced on Friday. This is the fourth case relating to the fodder scam, for the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 3.13 crore from the Dumka treasury.
Section 319 Cr PC is invoked when there is some strong and cogent evidence against the accused. Apart from Prasad and Mishra, 29 others, including former IAS officers and Animal Husbandry officials, are accused in the Dumka treasury case.
However, former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra found not guilty in the case. In total, 12 accused have been convicted, while five have been acquitted. The order on quantum of punishment will be passed following arguments on March 21, 22 and 23. Judge Shivpal Singh pronounced the judgment in which a total of 19 accused were convicted, while 12 were acquitted. Besides Lalu, the court also convicted politicians, including R K Rana, Jagdish Sharma, Dhruv Bhagat and Vidyasagr Nishad. Three of the two accused IAS officials-Beck Julius and Mahesh Prasad were also found not guilty. However, the court convicted one Phool Chand Singh in the case.
A fifth case relating to alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 139 crore from the Doranda treasury in Ranchi is pending with the court. Lalu Prasad was admitted to a hospital on Saturday for treatment after he complained of chest pain. Lalu was not present in the court when the verdict was pronounced. He was brought to the premises from Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) Hospital and left soon after a brief personal appearance. The RJD chief was admitted to the cardiology wing at RIMS after he fell ill at the Birsa Munda Jail on Saturday. The hearing in the case concluded on March 5. The court was expected to declare the verdict on Saturday but deferred it to Monday.
The court had postponed the judgement on Thursday in view of the Lalu Prasad’s counsel filing a petition under 319 CrPC asking the then three officials of the Accountant General (in the 1990s) be made a party to the case.
Section 319 Cr PC is invoked when there is some strong and cogent evidence against the accused.
Reacting to the verdict, RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh blamed PM Modi and CM Nitish Kumar saying this has happened for the second time that the court acquitted Mishra but convicted Prasad. “Ajab hai Narendra Modi aur Nitish ka mel, ajab hai khel, dubara se ho gaya Jagannath Mishra riha, aur Lalu Yadav ko jail. Ek aadmi ko jail, ek aadmi ko bail, ye hai Narendra Modi ka khel,” ANI quoted Prasad as saying.
Prasad’s counsel said he had filed the petition on March 14 and re-submitted it yesterday after correcting some typographical mistakes.
The special CBI court of Shiv Pal Singh allowed admission of the petition.
After perusal of records, the court found prima facie case and the petition filed on March 14 was allowed.
Apart from Prasad and Mishra, 29 others including former IAS officers and animal husbandry officials are accused in the Dumka Treasury case.
Prasad had already been convicted in three fodder cases while Mishra was convicted in two fodder cases. A special CBI court convicted Lalu in the second case as well on December 23, 2017 and awarded three-and-half years’ imprisonment. On January 24, he was convicted in the third case related to fraudulent withdrawals from the Chaibasa treasury, and was awarded a five-year jail term for that. After today, the court will pronounce its judgment in the fifth fodder scam (Doranda treasury) case in the coming months. Lalu is currently serving a prison term of 3.5 years following his conviction in the Deoghar treasury case on December 23 last year. He was convicted in the first fodder scam case in 2013 and awarded five years in jail. The conviction also barred him from contesting elections for 11 years in line with the Supreme Court order disqualifying convicts jailed for more than two years from contesting for six years after completion of their sentence. Later, he had got bail in the case.
A special CBI court on January 24, sentenced Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra to five years in jail in a fodder scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.62 crore from the Chaibasa treasury.
On January 6, a special CBI court had sentenced Prasad to three-and-a-half years in jail and fined him Rs 10 lakh in a fodder scam case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury 21 years ago.
In 2013, Prasad was convicted in the first fodder scam case involving withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from the Chaibasa treasury.
Prasad has been lodged in the Birsa Munda jail at Ranchi since December 23 last year after being convicted in the second case pertaining to illegal withdrawal of money from the Deogarh treasury. Prasad has been lodged in the Birsa Munda jail at Ranchi since December 23 last year after being convicted in the second case pertaining to illegal withdrawal of money from the Deogarh treasury. A fifth case relating to alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 139 crore from the Doranda treasury in Ranchi is pending with the court.
The over Rs 900-crore fodder scam cases relate to illegal withdrawal of money from government treasury in different districts in the animal husbandry department in undivided Bihar in 1990s when RJD was in power in the state.
(G.N.S) Dt. 19