Ranchi: RJD chief Lalu Prasad was on Saturday sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail by a CBI special court in a fodder scam case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury 21 years ago.
Lalu has been convicted in one of the cases of the fodder scam, wherein Rs. 900 crore from the Bihar exchequer was siphoned off under the pretext of purchasing fodder for livestock, during the '80s and '90s. The court also imposed Rs 5 Lakh fine on Lalu.
In today's scam case order, former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Jagdish Sharma was sentenced to a prison term of seven years and fined Rs 20 lakh while RJD leader R K Rana was jailed for three and six months and fined Rs 10 lakh.
Meanwhile, Lalu's son and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said that the trial court's decision will be challenged in the high court. "If Lalu ji had done compromise with BJP, he would be the most truthful person for them like Raja Harishchandra".
In the fodder scam case, out of 22 accused, 16 were convicted.
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Special CBI court judge, Shivpal Singh had acquitted six others, including former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra in the case.
Earlier today, while hearing the case, the judge said that 'an open jail is best for these people (convicts), as they also have experience of cow farming.
On Friday, citing illness and old age, Lalu had sought leniency from the court.
The RJD supremo is lodged in the Hotwar Central Jail in Ranchi since December 23.
The quantum of punishment was pronounced on Saturday after being postponed twice this week. "It will now be hard to keep the RJD together and people in politics will be fearful", he said, when asked about the significance of the court's verdict. Lalu was subsequently disqualified from contesting elections for 11 years.