Bihar politician Lalu Prasad convicted in fourth fodder scam case

Fodder scam: Lalu Prasad convicted

NEW DELHI March 20, 2018:: Bihar politician and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad was on Monday convicted in the fourth case linked to the fodder scam while his predecessor Jagannath Mishra was acquitted by a Ranchi court in Jharkhand, said media reports.

The multi-crore rupee fodder scam involves embezzlement of government funds in Bihar meant for cattle fodder and the case surfaced in the 1990s when Prasad was chief minister of undivided Bihar, said the reports.

Besides the two formers chief ministers, 30 others are accused in the case.

In 2013, Lalu Prasad was convicted in the first fodder scam case and sentenced to jail for five years. On December 23, 2017, he was convicted in the second case and was sentenced to three-and-half years in jail. In a third case, he was sentenced to jail for five years and it was related to money swindled from the Chaibasa treasury.

The fourth case that the court heard on Monday is a case related to Rs 3.13 crore swindled from the Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996, said the reports.

Media reports further said the fodder scam is a collective term for a set of 64 cases, of which 53 were litigated in Ranchi. Lalu Prasad is named as an accused in six of these cases.

The Rs 950-crore fodder scandal occurred in the mid-nineties when huge sums of money were withdrawn from various government treasuries in undivided Bihar by creating on paper herds of cattle for whom fodder, medicines and equipment were shown as purchased. Over a period of 14 years, receipts for fodder, transportation and cattle were manufactured to siphon off funds from the animal husbandry department. It is alleged that Mishra and Prasad presided over the loot through a nexus of bureaucrats and suppliers.

It was in 1990 that an audit report by a deputy accountant general first put the word scam down in writing. Scooters, cars, jeeps, tankers and station wagons were shown to have been used to transport bulls, cows and goats worth Rs 30 crore to remote locations of Ranchi.

Finally, in January 1996, the scam tumbled out, when Amit Khare, deputy commissioner, West Singhbhum smelt a rat and visited the animal husbandry department and sealed the office and ordered the treasury not to make any further payments.