- Lalu accused of corruption while Chief Minister in the 1990s
- Supreme Court says trial must be completed in 9 months
- Lalu already convicted in one of 6 corruption cases, is out on bail
Lalu, as he is popularly known, participates in the three-party coalition government in Bihar that is headed by Nitish Kumar, who is under increasing pressure to comment on various controversies engulfing Lalu and his two sons, who are both ministers in Bihar.
Lalu, 68, is banned from running for office after being convicted in what is known as the fodder scam - in the 1990s, while he was head of the Bihar government, feed for cattle was bought using inflated invoices; in some cases, despite money being paid, no fodder was bought at all. The swindle, according to the CBI, was worth about 1,000 crores and played out during 1990 to 1997.
In 2013, Lalu, who heads the Rashtriya Janata Dal, is named in six cases embedded in the fodder scam. He was convicted in 2013 in one of them and then asked that the others be dropped since he cannot be tried for the same offenses again. The Supreme Court has rejected that request and said he will be tried in all the cases.
It took more than a decade and a half for the fodder scam case to reach a verdict in the first case that saw him being sentenced to five years in jail; he is out on bail.
One of India's most charismatic politicians, Lalu's term as top leader of Bihar led to the state becoming synonymous with violence, poverty and graft.
He still enjoys huge popular support for championing backward castes and in the last Bihar election in 2015, his party won more seats than any other, but agreed to honour an earlier agreement with Mr Kumar to serve as No 2 in the alliance. In recent weeks, his sons, Tejashwi and Tej Pratap, have been accused by the BJP of concealing vast real estate assets which were illicitly acquired, according to the opposition.
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.