RANCHI, Dec 23 - In a major setback to the RJD, a special CBI court today convicted former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad and 15 others in a fodder scam case 21 years after it had surfaced, while acquitting six others, including another former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra.
Special judge Shivpal Singh pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom in the case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.
The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 3.
The copy of the judgement was not immediately available.
Sixty-nine-year-old Lalu Prasad, who heads the RJD, and other convicts were taken into custody immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict. Lalu Prasad�s son Tejaswi Yadav, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, was present in the court.
Lalu Prasad and the others convicted in the fodder scam case were then whisked off to Birsa Munda Jail, where security has been tightened, CBI sources said.
The special court acquitted 80-year-old Jagannath Mishra and five others � former Public Accounts Committee chairman Druv Bhagat, former Indian Revenue Service officer AC Choudhary, fodder suppliers Saraswati Chandra and Sadhana Singh and former minister Vidya Sagar Nishad.
Besides Lalu Prasad, the court convicted political leaders Jagdish Sharma and RK Rana, IAS officers Beck Julius, Phoolchand Singh and Mahesh Prasad, and government officials Krishna Kumar and Subir Bhattacharya. The others are suppliers/transporters Tripurari Mohan Prasad, Sushil Kumar Sinha, Sunil Kumar Sinha, Raja Ram Joshi, Gopinath Das, Sanjay Agarwal, Jyoti Kumar Jha and Sunil Gandhi.
In 1996, the Patna High Court ordered an inquiry into the fodder scam cases and a chargesheet in the Deogarh Treasury case was filed against 38 people on October 27, 1997. Eleven of them died and three turned approvers, while two others accused confessed and were convicted in 2006-07, a CBI official said.
The accused faced charges under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act. The court had on December 13 reserved its on the matter.
On September 30, 2013, Lalu Prasad, Jagannath Mishra and several others had been convicted in another case pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa Treasury in the early 1990s. Today�s conviction is the second in the scam.
The Supreme Court had granted bail on December 13 that year to Lalu Prasad, who had been behind the bars for two months. He had moved the apex court challenging the order of the Jharkhand High Court which had dismissed his bail plea.
Lalu Prasad faces another three fodder scam cases for illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.97 crore from the Dumka Treasury, Rs 36 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury and Rs 184 crore from the Doranda treasury. � PTI