Ranchi: After deferring the announcement on the quantum of Lalu Prasad Yadav's punishment in the case involving illegal withdrawal of Rs. 84.5 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury, a CBI Special Judge in Ranchi on Saturday awarded 42 months in jail and a fine of Rs. 5 lakh to the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief along with 16 other accused, including three former IAS officials.
The sentence was announced via video-conference to avoid any ruckus at the court house.
Yadav was earlier convicted in the case by the same CBI court on December 23, 2017. Since then he has been lodged in the Birsa Munda Jail in Ranchi.
The embezzlement took place between 1990 and 1994 when Yadav was the Chief Minister of the undivided Bihar.
As reported earlier, another Chief Minister of Bihar Jagannath Mishra was exonerated by the same court on December 23.
Out of 34 accused, 11 had already died while one person turned the CBI informant.
Besides Yadav, among those who were also convicted today by CBI Judge Shivpal Singh included former IAS officers Phoolchand Mandal, beck Julius, and Mahesh Prasad, and Sunil Kumar, Sushil Kumar, Sudhir Kumar and Raja Ram.
With this conviction, Yadav stands convicted in two of the five cases of fodder scam.
The former Chief Minister's lawyers had appealed to the court for a short sentencing of three years on account of his age and health. Besides, a sentencing of three years would have immediately made Yadav eligible for bail. With six extra months added to the three years sentencing, Yadav will now have to go through the Ranchi High Court to obtain a bail.
While Yadav's fate remains unclear as he faces three more cases of corruption related to the same fodder scam, his lawyers said that justice was not served today and that their client would immediately seek bail in the appropriate court.
In Patna, Yadav's son and heir-apparent Tejaswi Yadav also pledged to seek bail.
"The judiciary has done its job; now we will knock the door of the High Court to seek bail for my father who has several physical conditions and is old," the former Deputy Chief Minister said.
Speaking during an emergency meeting of the party leaders in Patna on Saturday, the junior Yadav said that his father was the victim of a witch-hunt by the Sangh family.
"Lalu Prasad Yadav was chosen by the people of Bihar and he's in jail while those who were not elected are now part of the Bihar government. Amit Shah is scared of my father and that's why he conspired to send my father to the jail," Yadav said.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shahnawaz Hussain hailed the court's decision saying the people of Bihar finally got the justice that they deserved.
Senior Janata Dal – U leader K C Tyagi also welcomed the judgment saying it was historic and the 'end of a chapter'.
Yadav's troubles, however, are expected to further mount in the coming days as another CBI Special Court in connection with the same fodder scam has issued production warrant against him and eight others.
All are expected to appear before the court in Ranchi on January 10.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS