I Needn't Worry, Tejashwi Is There, Says Lalu Yadav Before Court Verdict

In 2013, Lalu Yadav had spent a few months in jail till he got bail from the Supreme Court after he was found guilty in one of five cases of corruption filed against him in the fodder scam case by the CBI.

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I Needn't Worry, Tejashwi Is There, Says Lalu Yadav Before Court Verdict

Fodder Scam Case: Tejashwi Yadav, who was by his father's side in 2013, accompanied him to Ranchi (File)


Ranchi:  The last time Lalu Yadav stood before a judge set to pronounce its verdict in 2013, the Rashtriya Janata Party chief had worried who would lead the party if the court sent him to jail in the fodder scam. Not today. "I don't need to worry about the party... Tejashwi is there," Lalu Yadav told NDTV, hours before he was to appear before a CBI court in Jharkhand's capital, Ranchi, on Saturday morning.

In the months after the Supreme Court revived fodder scam cases this May that accuse Bihar's two former chief ministers Lalu Yadav and Jagannath Mishra of conspiracy, Lalu Yadav had gone on an overdrive to unequivocally establish his younger son as the party's leader in his absence.

Tejashwi, who was the Deputy Chief Minister when the RJD was in power in alliance with Nitish Kumar's party, was later named the leader of the opposition. Days after Tejashwi turned 28 last month, Lalu Yadav also got the party that he founded to formally declare Tejashwi Yadav as its Chief Ministerial face for the 2020 assembly elections.

Tejashwi Yadav, who was by his father's side in 2013, has accompanied him to Ranchi this time too. He told NDTV that he is hopeful the court would deliver "complete justice". But if things do not turn out the way, the former Deputy Chief Minister suggested, he is ready to step into his father's big shoes.

"It is a big role but with the trust of party leaders and workers... if a situation arises, we can face the challenges," he told NDTV.

In 2013, Lalu Yadav had spent a few months in jail till he got bail from the Supreme Court after he was found guilty in one of five cases of corruption filed against him by the CBI. He was stripped of his membership of parliament and barred from running for election for six years.

The next year, the high court quashed the trial in other cases, accepting Lalu Yadav's plea that he could not be punished for the same crime of conspiracy more than once. In May this year, the Supreme Court, acting on a delayed appeal by the CBI filed after a change in government at the Centre, rejected this contention, treating each case as a separate one.

On the face of it, Lalu Yadav suggests that his hopes of an acquittal are high, citing the decisions of a Delhi court throwing out the CBI charges in the 2G case and the Mumbai high court refusing to allow former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's prosecution in the Adarsh housing society scandal.

"We trust and respect the judiciary. It won't let BJP's conspiracies work. What happened in the 2G case, what happened with Ashok Chavan's case will happen with us too," Lalu Yadav told NDTV.


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