Ranchi: In a crucial verdict, a CBI-designated court on Monday convicted all the 45 accused, including Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, in fodder scam case. The quantum of punishment will be announced on October 03 through video-conferencing. Lalu Prasad Yadav waved to supporters as he arrived at the court in Ranchi amidst stringent security. The multi-million animal husbandry department scam, popularly known as the fodder scam, accuses Lalu Yadav and Jagannath Mishra – both former chief ministers of Bihar, ministers from the department, two IAS officials and others, of fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.70 crore from Chaibasa district treasury of Jharkhand.
Lalu Yadav’s lawyer had completed arguments in the case on September 17. The verdict is crucial for the former Bihar chief minister and his future as a political leader since the central government ordinance that would have shielded tainted and convicted parliamentarians and legislators from disqualification has been put under scanner and is likely to be withdrawn. There were a total of 56 accused in the case. But during the trial, seven accused died, two turned approver, one admitted to the crime and one was discharged. Judge PK Singh had fixed July 15 as the date of verdict, and asked the remaining 45 accused to be present in the court.
Yadav moved the Jharkhand High Court and later the Supreme Court, seeking change of the judge in the case. Both the courts dismissed his petition, and directed him to complete argument in the case before the CBI court. Yadav quit the chief minister’s post in 1997 when his name figured in the CBI investigations in the scam, which surfaced in 1996. Around 54 of the 61 cases were transferred to Jharkhand, after it was created as a separate state from Bihar in November 2000. Different CBI courts have passed judgments in more than 43 cases. Yadav and Jagannath Mishra are accused in five cases.