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Fodder Scam: A massive blow for Lalu Prasad Yadav as Supreme Court restores conspiracy charges

Team SoOLEGAL 8 May 2017 11:43am

Fodder Scam: A massive blow for Lalu Prasad Yadav as Supreme Court restores conspiracy charges

The former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD chief will face charges of criminal conspiracy in the fodder scam case, in which Rs. 900 crores were embezzled from the state exchequer for fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle over a period of 20 years. It took more than a decade and a half for the fodder scam case to reach a verdict.

During his term as Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav's trial for corruption must be completed within nine months, the Supreme Court ruled today, while also rejecting his request for the more grave charges including criminal conspiracy to be deleted. Lalu, as he is popularly known, participates in the three-party coalition government in Bihar that is headed by Nitish Kumar.

It’s huge setback for RJD chief. He is banned from running for office after being convicted in what is known as the fodder scam - in the 1990s, while he was head of the Bihar government, feed for cattle was bought using inflated invoices - in some cases, despite money being paid, no fodder was bought at all. The swindle, according to the CBI, was worth about 1,000 crores and played out during 1990 to 1997.

Earlier in 2013, Lalu, who heads the Rashtriya Janata Dal, was convicted by a court in Ranchi and sentenced to five years in jail in one of six cases embedded in the fodder scam. A higher court then dropped some charges against him in the other cases, saying he had already been found guilty of some of them and could not be tried for the same offense again.

In 2013, when Lalu was convicted he was a senior ally of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and had to surrender his Lok Sabha seat, in keeping with Supreme Court rules. In a move critics said was designed to shield him, PM Singh's cabinet hastily passed an executive order that would allow convicted lawmakers to stay in office and stand in an election.

In the midst of the outcry that followed, Rahul Gandhi, the Congress' No 2, slammed the cabinet move in a stunning interference and tore up the order that was seen as designed to protect politicians accused of corruption. One of India's most compelling politicians, Lalu's term as top leader of Bihar led to the state becoming synonymous with violence, poverty and graft.

He still enjoys huge popular support for championing backward castes and in the last Bihar election in 2015, his party won more seats than any other, but agreed to honour an earlier agreement with Mr Kumar to serve as No 2 in the alliance.
It took more than a decade and a half for the fodder scam case to reach a verdict.

Tagged: Fodder Scam   Lalu Prasad Yadav   conspiracy charges  
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