Fodder Scam: A Case That Changed Political Fortunes of Two Bihari Stalwarts
Fraudulent withdrawal from Bihar government treasuries against fake bills of Livestock feeds were first reported in 1986. Later, it emerged as a multi-million fodder scam in 90s when Lalu Prasad was the chief minister.
The fodder scam dented the political career of Lalu Prasad Yadav. (File photo: via Getty Images)
Patna: The fodder scam has been at the centre of Bihar politics ever since it surfaced in 1996, ruining the political career of two stalwarts and former chief ministers — Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jagannath Mishra.
The legal battle still continues and a special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CIB) will pronounce judgment on Saturday in one of the four cases in which Lalu, Jagannath Mishra and 20 others are accused.
Fraudulent withdrawal from Bihar government treasuries against fake bills of livestock feeds were first reported in 1986. Later, it emerged as a multi-million fodder scam in early ’90s when Lalu Prasad was the chief minister.
As the investigation started, many surprising facts emerged, including a fake bill of transportation of fodder. The vehicle number on the voucher turned out to be of a scooter which became the symbol of corruption in Bihar.
Here is the timeline of events which altered the political landscape of Bihar:
January 1996: The scam surfaces after deputy commissioner Amit Khare raids the offices of the Animal Husbandry Department and seizes documents that showed siphoning of funds by non-existent companies in the name of supplying fodder
March 11, 1996: The Patna High Court directs the CBI to probe the scam. The Supreme Court upholds the order
March 27, 1996: The CBI registers an FIR in the Chaibasa Treasury case
June 23, 1997: The CBI files a charge sheet and names Lalu Prasad and 55 others as accused in the case. 63 cases were registered under IPC Sections 420 (forgery) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and Section 13 (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act
July 30, 1997: Lalu Prasad surrenders before a CBI court and sent to judicial custody
April 5, 2000: Charges framed before the special CBI court. Rabri Devi’s name included as co-accused, but she is granted bail. Lalu Prasad’s bail plea rejected and he is remanded in judicial custody
October 5, 2001: The Supreme Court transfers the scam cases to Jharkhand after the creation of the new State
February 2002: Trial begins in the Ranchi special CBI court
December 2006: Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi acquitted of charges in the disproportionate assets case filed by the CBI
June 2007: The special CBI court in Ranchi sentences 58 persons, including two nephews of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, to jail terms ranging from two-and-a-half years to six years for fraudulently withdrawing Rs 48 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury in the 1990s.
March 2012: Six months after their appearance before the Special CBI court, charges are framed against Lalu Prasad and Mishra. The court charges the former with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 47 lakh from the treasuries at Banka and Bhagalpur districts, wherein forged and fake bills were drawn by the Animal Husbandry Department in 1995-96 when he was the Chief Minister
August 13, 2013: The Supreme Court rejects Lalu Prasad’s plea seeking the transfer of the trial court judge hearing the case
September 17, 2013: The Special CBI court reserves its judgment
September 30, 2013: Lalu Prasad and Mishra along with 45 others are convicted by Special CBI Judge Pravas Kumar Singh. Lalu Prasad stands disqualified as member of the Lok Sabha following the verdict. The two cannot contest any election, including that of the Assembly/Council for six years from the date of their release from jail
November 2014: The CBI challenges the order of the Jharkhand High Court quashing four pending fodder scam cases against Lalu Prasad on the grounds that a person convicted in one case could not be tried in similar cases based on same witnesses and evidences. The court upholds the CBI plea to continue proceedings in the trial court against Lalu Prasad under two sections
November 2016: The Supreme Court pulls up Mishra for allegedly dragging and delaying the appeal filed by the CBI, challenging the quashing of four pending fodder scam cases against him
May 2017: The Supreme Court holds that Lalu Prasad and other accused persons, including Mishra, will be tried separately for corruption in a criminal case involving the withdrawal of Rs 84.53 lakh and falsification of records from the Deoghar Treasury in 1991-94
December 13, 2017: Hearing of case number RC-64A/96 completed in the CBI court of Shivpal Singh. Judgment will be pronounced on Saturday
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