- Lalu Yadav was brought from Ranchi jail to special court for sentencing
- Sentencing was postponed after condolence meet by bar association
- Lalu Yadav's sentencing is likely to happen tomorrow
The sentencing was postponed after the court was informed that no lawyer be would be present for arguments because of a condolence meet held by the bar association.
Meanwhile, a contempt notice was also issued against Lalu Yadav's son Tejashwi and party leader Raghubansh Prasad Singh for speaking against the court today. Many leaders and workers of Mr Yadav's party the RJD had gathered, as have several members of his family at the court.
Lalu Yadav's partymen hope their leader will be sentenced to less than three years in prison as that will mean he can apply for bail immediately. He has been in prison since December 23, when he was convicted along with 15 others in the case, and has been allowed only three visitors a week according to the jail manual.
Lawyers said Lalu Prasad can be awarded three to seven years in prison. The veteran politician's lawyer said he will press for minimum punishment today. "Lalu is 70 years old and suffering from many diseases. We will seek minimum punishment for him," he said.
Lalu Yadav, a harsh critic of the ruling BJP, has alleged that he is a victim of political vengeance. Last year, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dissolved his alliance with Lalu Yadav and the Congress and partnered with the BJP instead.
On December 23, the CBI court acquitted another former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and five others in the case, which relates to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 84.5 lakh from the Deoghar district treasury between 1990 and 1994. Lalu Yadav was Chief Minister of undivided Bihar from 1990 to 1997.
34 people were accused in the case, of which 11 died during the trial, while one turned CBI approver and admitted to the crime. The 16 convicted people include three former IAS officers Phoolchand Mandal, Beck Julius and Mahesh Prasad.
Lalu Yadav faces trial in three more cases relating to the fodder scam, locally called the "Chara Ghotala".