Let me get moving the nib of my pen by first and foremost pointing out that a Special CBI court in Ranchi on January 24 awarded five years of rigorous imprisonment in jail and a fine of Rs 10 lakh to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in a third fodder scam case RC 68(A)/96 for fake withdrawal of Rs 33.61 crore from Chaibasa treasury out of the five lodged against him 22 years ago. Earlier, a total of 50 accused persons including Prasad and former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra were also convicted in the case while six others were acquitted. They were all convicted in the scam case related to the Chaibasa treasury from which Rs 33.13 crore were fraudulently withdrawn against the annual allotment of Rs 7.10 lakh for the year 1992-93.
To be sure, while communicating the sentence, the Special Judge of CBI Court – SS Prasad announced that Lalu Prasad Yadav had to undergo rigorous imprisonment (RI) of five years for committing offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and another five years for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Judge said that, “Both sentences shall run concurrently”.
As it turned out, earlier Lalu Prasad Yadav’s lawyer Chitranjan Sinha passionately pleaded for a lighter punishment citing his client’s multiple health issues as the main reason for it. But the CBI, on the contrary, demanded maximum punishment arguing that the accused deserved no leniency as the offences were grave. The CBI’s argument found favour with the court!
Be it noted, Lalu Prasad is currently lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail of Ranchi after being convicted for 3.5 years in the RC 64(A)/96 fodder scam case on December 23, 2017. The case pertained to the Deoghar treasury withdrawal in which the quantum of sentence was pronounced on January 6, 2018 by the CBI Special Judge Shiv Pal Singh. Lalu has appealed in the Ranchi High Court against his conviction in the case. He was first convicted in a fodder scam case, RC 20(A)/96 for fake withdrawal of Rs 37 crore from Chaibasa treasury on September 30, 2013 for five years and was barred from contesting elections for a period of six years. Later, he had got bail in the case. In two other fodder scam cases related to illegal withdrawal of money from Dumka and Doronda district (both in Jharkhand) treasuries, verdicts are likely to be pronounced in the coming months! The pending cases are RC 38(A)/96 for fake withdrawal of Rs 3.31 crore from Dumka treasury and verdict expected in February or March and the other is RC 47(A)/96 for fake withdrawal of Rs 139.39 crore from Doronda treasury in Ranchi. The verdict is expected by end of 2018.
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.