Ranchi: A Special CBI Court in Ranchi will pronounce its verdict at 3 pm today in a fodder scam case in which former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Yadav is an accused. The case relates to embezzling of more than Rs.85 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal Chief has already been convicted in another fodder scam case that cost him his Lok Sabha seat and disqualified him from contesting elections.
Lalu Yadav, along with his younger son and political heir, Tejashwi, arrived in Ranchi last evening for the verdict. “We trust and respect the Judiciary. It won’t let BJP’s conspiracies work,” he told reporters, hoping that his verdict would be on lines of the 2G case.
If he is convicted, he will be immediately taken into custody. In October 2013 when he was first convicted in a related fodder scam case, he had to spend two months in jail before he got bail from the Supreme Court.
In this case, Lalu Yadav faces accusations that as the Chief Minister and Finance Minister back in the nineties, he kept the file for an inquiry against the mastermind of the scam pending for 16 months and gave three other officials extensions despite objections from bureaucrats. The CBI says he was aware of the scam but allowed the loot to continue by his inaction.
Apart from Yadav, former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and 19 others are also accused in the case.
Of the 34 people initially accused in the case, 11 died during the course of trial, while one turned approver and admitted to the crime.
Special CBI Judge Shivapal Singh had completed hearing the case on December 13 and asked all accused in the case to remain present in Court for the judgment.
In October 2013, Yadav was convicted in one of the cases — on charges of embezzling Rs. 37 crore. That verdict had disqualified him from the Lok Sabha and contesting elections.
In 2014, the Jharkhand High Court had given relief to the former Bihar Chief Minister and others by dropping charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and prevention of corruption. The Court had quashed the cases on the grounds that a person convicted in one case could not be tried in similar cases based on same witnesses and evidences.
In May this year, the Supreme Court ruled that Lalu Yadav will have to stand trial in all the fodder scam cases, setting aside the high Court order that dropped cases charges against the former Bihar CM.
The former Chief Minister of Bihar had been charged in several cases related to the scam, in which Rs.900 crore were embezzled from the State exchequer for fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle over a period of 20 years. The CBI started probing the case in 1996.
Over 50 cases were registered for embezzlement of funds on the pretext of buying fodder for cattle, among others.