A special CBI court convicted Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad to seven years in prison for corruption on Saturday, dealing a fresh blow to the embattled politician who has been serving jail term in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail since December 23 last year after his conviction in two other fodder scam cases .
The court of special CBI judge Shivpal Singh had on March 19 sentenced Prasad, who will also have to pay a fine of Rs 30 lakh, and 18 others guilty in the scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.76 crore from Dumka treasury during December 1995 to January 1996.
This is the fourth fodder scam case out of the six lodged against him 22 years ago. In the Dumka case, the court acquitted 12 accused, including former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra.
The fodder scam, probed by the CBI, relates to the fraudulent withdrawal of nearly Rs 950 crore between 1990 and 1995 when public funds were swindled from various treasuries for fictitious spends on fodder and other expenses for cattle.
Prasad has now been sentenced in four fodder scam cases out of six registered against him in Jharkhand and Bihar. His first conviction came on September 30, 2013, in Chaibasa treasury case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.70 crore.
He was handed over five years in prison leading to his disqualification from the Lok Sabha membership. After serving sentence for 77 days, Prasad came out of jail on bail granted by the Supreme Court in December that year.
His trouble renewed again last year when a special CBI court on December 23 sentenced him in the second scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar treasury.
Prasad was sentenced 3.5 years of jail term in this case. A month later on January 24, another CBI court convicted and sentenced him five years of imprisonment in Chaibasa treasury case related to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.13.
He is still facing trial in the last case in Jharkhand. This is the largest fodder scam case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 139 crore from Ranchi’s Doranda treasury and involving 120 accused.