1985-2018: How Lalu Prasad Yadav got multiple jail terms for the Fodder Scam

1985-2018: How Lalu Prasad Yadav got multiple jail terms for the Fodder Scam

  • In March 2018, Lalu Prasad was sentenced in the fourth fodder scam case to 14 years in jail and fined ₹6 million.
  • He has been serving time in the Birsa Munda Jail in Ranchi since 23 December 2017.
  • In September 2013, Lalu Prasad, Jagannath Mishra and 45 others convicted in the Chaibasa Treasury case. In the first of the six cases levied against him, Lalu was sentenced to five years in jail.

Lalu Prasad Yadav the (erstwhile) indomitable leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) seems to have bitten off more than he can chew with the all-too-famous Fodder Scam. Just last month he was sentenced for the fourth time to 14 years in jail and fined ₹60,00,000. He has already been serving time in the Birsa Munda Jail in Ranchi since 23 December 2017.

The scam that spiralled into a multi-million scandal began with the small-scale falsification of transactions related to syphoning of government funds in the name of buying livestock and supplying fodder. Basically, in the name of non-existent livestock, thousands and thousands of rupees worth of fake bills were made out to be paid to suppliers for fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment.

What is to be noted that this practice was not exclusively created by Lalu Prasad and his party, but had been at the very core of the functioning of the Animal Husbandry Department (AHD) of Bihar since 20 years past. The scam involved politicians and bureaucrats belonging to previous administrations for decades with Lalu Prasad perpetuating the practice.
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In 1985, comptroller and auditor general of India, TN Chaturvedi, found something amiss when he noticed that the Bihar treasury inevitably submitted their monthly accounts later than the due date.

In January 1996, deputy commissioner of Chaibasa, Amit Khare, launched a raid at the Animal Husbandry Department where they discovered the documents confirming illegal withdrawals and uncovered a nexus between officials and suppliers.

In March 1996, the Patna High court gets the CBI to look into the fodder scam and subsequently, the CBI registered an FIR in the Chaibasa (now in Jharkhand) Treasury case.
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In June-July 1997, a CBI enquiry in the case was launched based on a PIL filed by BJP state unit chief Sushil Kumar Modi in the Patna High Court. Lalu Prasad Yadav and former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra were both named in this charge sheet along with 55 other co-accused. This led to Lalu’s relinquishing the Chief Minister seat in July to his wife - a political masterstroke. Lalu then surrendered before CBI court and was subsequently sent to judicial custody. After four months he was released on bail.

In April 2001, Lalu Prasad’s wife, Rabri Devi joined the list of accused in the scam but was granted bail.

In October 2001, after the bifurcation of Bihar, 53 of the total 63 fodder scam cases were moved to the newly created state of Jharkhand by the Supreme Court.
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In December 2006, a Patna lower court acquits both Lalu and his wife in a disproportionate assets case filed by CBI.

In March 2012, the CBI court frames charges against Lalu Prasad and his predecessor Jagannath Mishra, amongst others.

In September 2013, Lalu Prasad, Jagannath Mishra and 45 others convicted in the Chaibasa Treasury case involving the withdrawal of ₹377 million from the Chaibasa treasury. In the first of the six cases levied against him, Lalu is sentenced to five years in jail but gets out in three months on bail. He is disqualified as Lok Sabha member and debarred from contesting elections.
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In November 2014, the Jharkhand High Court drops four pending criminal conspiracy cases against Lalu on grounds of a convicted person cannot be repeatedly be tried for similar cases based on same witnesses and evidence.

In May 2017, the Supreme Court quashes the Jharkhand High Court’s decision and reinstates the charges. Lalu to be tried on each of the five remaining cases against him.

In December 2017, CBI court convicts Lalu Prasad Yadav in the second — illegal withdrawal of money from the Deogarh treasury — fodder scam case but acquits Jagannath Mishra.
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In January 2018, Lalu Prasad sentenced to three and a half years in jail and a 10 lakh rupee fine by the special CBI court. Later that month, in the third case pertaining to the fraudulent withdrawal of ₹336.7 million from Chaibasa district treasury, both Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra were awarded an additional five years jail and ₹1 million fine.

In March 2018, Lalu Prasad was sentenced in the fourth fodder scam case to 14 years in jail and fined ₹6 million. This is by far the severest sentence doled out to the 69-year-old RJD chief so far.
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