Lalu convicted in fodder scam, but RJD blames 'regime'

Implications of guilty verdict for Lalu Prasad in second fodder scam case

A special CBI court on Saturday convicted Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad and 15 others in a case relating to the multi-million rupee fodder scam.

The CBI court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 3.

Corruption allegations related to a fodder scam, which continued for several years from even prior to Lalu's term as chief minister in 1990, were levelled against him in 1998 when he stepped down as chief minister and installed his wife as his successor. When he was convicted in 2013 in case RC 20-A/96, he was MP from Saran in Bihar. Six, including former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra, have been acquitted.

Overall, more than Rs 900 crore was reportedly siphoned off from the Chaibasa treasury for two decades.

Hitting out at the BJP and Nitish Kumar, he said, "Nitish Kumar, BJP kept trying to malign Lalu Ji". This is the seventh time he is being jailed in connection with the fodder scam.

Lalu Yadav has also accused BJP of deliberately targeting him by using CBI and other agencies. "The RJD will challenge the CBI court's order in the HC soon", senior party leader Jagdanand Singh, considered close to Lalu, told the media.

However, the guilty verdict for Lalu Yadav restores faith in the Indian institution as the series of acquittals in landmark cases that had shaped the corruption narrative in the past few years had challenged the very idea of institutional accountability.

The present case, RC 64 (A)/96, pertains to fraudulent withdrawals from Deoghar district treasury when Lalu was Bihar chief minister.

According to a lawyer, the trial in the case was completed on Dec.13 in a special CBI court of Ranchi.

Or, will "coalition compulsions" bind Rahul Gandhi to forge pragmatic ties with the new crop of RJD leadership, embodied in Tejashwi Yadav, based on secular politics and history of unflinching loyalty from the RJD towards the Congress?

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