Lalu sentenced to 3.5 years in jail in fodder scam case

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A special CBI court in Ranchi on Saturday sentenced Lalu Prasad and 7 others, namely Phool Chand, Mahesh Prasad, Bake Julious, Sunil Kumar, Sushil Kumar, Sudhir Kumar and Raja Ram, to 3.5 years imprisonment and Rs5 lakh fine each in the second fodder scam case.

The CBI special court in Ranchi was expected to award the quantum of punishment for RJD chief Lalu Prasad and 15 others on January 3, but due to the sudden demise of an advocate, the announcement was first deferred to January 4 and then January 5. The Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ranchi also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief. His son Tejashwi Yadav said that they will approach the high court and also apply for bail after studying the sentence.

Apart from Lalu, Mishra and 20 others accused were present in the court when the quantum of sentence was pronounced. Earlier, RJD leader Rabri Devi called an emergency meeting of the party before Lalu Prasad Yadav's sentencing in fodder scam case.

The scam is related to withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deogarh Treasury between 1990 and 1994 when Prasad was the chief minister of Bihar.

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On Friday, Lalu Prasad sought a minimum punishment citing health issues.

Reacting to the verdict, the BJP and its ally JD (U) said no one was above the law while the RJD claimed its leader fell prey to a "conspiracy" by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the saffron party. Trial began before the special CBI court, Ranchi in February 2002.

Prasad was granted bail by the Supreme Court after having spent over two-and-a-half months in jail.

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