Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Atul Anjan on Monday said the conviction of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav by a special Central Bureau of India (CBI) Court in Ranchi in the multi-crore fodder scam case is a clear indication that politicians must not indulge in corruption but fulfill their duties with sincerity and integrity.
“You (the politicians) have to serve the people. You are the custodian of the wealth of the people, not the owner. Laluji and his accomplices could not play the role of a custodian and eventually landed up in the custody with everything,” he told media here.
The court found Yadav guilty along with former Bihar Chief Minister Dr. Jagannath Mishra.
The RJD chief has been convicted along with 44 others, including seven more politicians and four bureaucrats. The sentence will be announced on October 3
44 other persons were also found guilty in one of the five fodder scam cases.
The judgement is a major blow for Yadav, who faces immediate disqualification as a Member of Parliament and won’t be allowed to contest elections for six years. The court said that it will announce the sentence on the RJD supremo on October 3.
The verdict has come at a time when the ruling UPA Government and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are locked in a war of words pertaining the ordinance with regard to convicted politicians.
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 had in his petition alleged that trial court judge P K Singh was biased against him as he is a relative of P K Shahi, Education Minister in the Nitish Kumar Government in Bihar, "who is his (Yadav''s) biggest political enemy"
The case pertains to alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa Treasury in the 1990s. The FIR was lodged by Bihar government in February 1996 but the case was transferred to CBI a month later.
CBI had investigated the scam for a year and the charge sheet was filed in 1997. The charges were framed in 2000 following which the Special CBI court commenced trial against Lalu Yadav and 44 other accused.
RJD's plea had faced stiff opposition from JD-U leader Rajiv Ranjan who submitted that it would be a ‘travesty of justice’ if the judge is transferred at the far end of the trial.
He submitted that it would give a wrong impression to the entire country if the judge is transferred and raised a question on RJD supremo's petition seeking transfer of the judge who has been hearing the case since 2011.
The fodder scam also known as "Chara Ghotala" involved the siphoning of funds from the Bihar Government treasury. The alleged theft spanned over several years, and many Bihar state government administrative and elected officials across multiple administrations were allegedly engaged in it.
Additionally, there are also allegations that they were involved in the fabrication of "vast herds of fictitious livestock" for which fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured.
The fodder scam was unearthed in Bihar in 1996 when Lalu Prasad was the Chief Minister of the state. He had resigned from the post in 1997 after a court issued an arrest warrant against him in connection with one of the cases.