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No escape: SC orders Lalu to stand trial in fodder scam cases

13 May 2017

In a major setback to the RJD supremo, the Supreme Court had yesterday held that he has to face separate trial in each of the cases in which he is an accused in the multi-crore fodder scam and if found guilty, he may be punished separately.

Lalu had been charged in several cases related to the fodder scam, which involved embezzlement of Rs 900 crore from the state exchequer for fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle over a period of 20 years.

Other accused of the case include Jagannath Mishra and ex-top bureaucrat Sajal Chakraborty.

The apex court passed its order in response to a plea filed by the CBI opposing the dropping of charges against Lalu Yadav in connection with the fodder scam case.

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Lalu has been already convicted in one of the five fodder scam cases registered against him and his appeal is pending in the Supreme Court.

Taking note of the delays by the CBI in filing appeals, the court in its order expressed "surprise" at the delay in filing appeal in such important matters and asked "how such delay could take place". Modi added that CBI should form special teams in Jharkhand for ensuring fair trial of Lalu in the remaining cases in the fodder scam over the next nine months as stipulated in the SC order issued on Monday.

The BJP on Saturday attacked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar after a tape of an alleged conversation between RJD chief Lalu Yadav and jailed don-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin was aired by a news channel.

After coming out of jail in September a year ago, Shahabuddin had termed Lalu Prasad his leader and called Nitish Kumar as the "Chief Minister of circumstance".

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Yadav, a populist leader born into a cow herder's family, has always denied any wrongdoing and still enjoys massive popularity in Bihar, one of India's poorest states.

Yadav, who had also served as the federal railways minister, denied the charge and said he had been falsely implicated.

"Nitish Kumar has compromised with the RJD chief for the sake of the CM's chair".

".as a weak Lalu forced to kneel down by the court order will not be able to trouble the (ruling) Grand Alliance much", said BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, one of the early petitioners in the scam. The ruling also gives rise to interesting possibilities in Nitish Kumar's coalition government in Bihar. And in some cases, only money was paid but no fodder was purchased. There are different sets of accused persons in different cases with respect to defalcation.

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No escape: SC orders Lalu to stand trial in fodder scam cases