Ranchi, Jharkhand: Former union minister Lalu Prasad was imprisoned in Ranchi today after he was found guilty of embezzling crores when he was chief minister of Bihar.
The conviction means he stands to be disqualified as a member of parliament, according to a recent Supreme Court judgement.
The 66-year-old, who has served as Railways Minister, will be sentenced on Thursday in the case that has stretched over 17 years. He faces between four and seven years in prison, said lawyers connected to the case.
Mr Yadav was in the packed court-room today when he was declared guilty along with Congressman Jagannath Mishra, who has also served as chief minister of Bihar, and two leaders of the ruling Janata Dal (United) or JD(U). Mr Mishra, just hours, later was admitted to a hospital in Ranchi. (Lalu Prasad found guilty in fodder scam: who said what)
The case is based on the misuse of 37 crores of public money, part of a larger scam that saw 950 crores being used to pay fictitious bills for medicines and fodder for cattle in Bihar.
The CBI has alleged that as chief minister, Mr Yadav accepted kickbacks, was aware of the financial malevolence of officials who he "constantly shielded and patronised."
Mr Yadav did not speak to the media today. His son Tejaswi vowed to fight today's verdict in a higher court and in "the court of the people." (Will appeal in 'court of the people', says Lalu's son)
In July, the Supreme Court ruled that MPs should be disqualified if they are found guilty in criminal cases carrying jail terms of more than two years.
Mr Yadav had to resign as Bihar chief minister in 1997 after being charged in the scam; he installed his wife, Rabri Devi, in office. In the 2005 election, he lost Bihar to Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United) who has been chief minister ever since. (Lalu Prasad's conviction set to change political math, can RJD recover?)