Ranchi: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav, 69, has been handed two jail terms of seven years each in the fourth case linked to the fodder scam but this time, the CBI judge ruled that the former Bihar Chief Minister and 18 other convicts would have to serve the jail term consecutively. This implies, according to the court order, that Lalu Yadav would remain in jail for the next 14 years, till 2032.
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The former Bihar chief minister, who was convicted by a court in Jharkhand's Ranchi on Monday, has also been fined Rs 60 lakh. Lalu Yadav was convicted along with 18 others in the fodder scam that involves embezzlement of government funds in Bihar meant for cattle fodder back in the 1990s.
"The prison term - seven years for offence under the penal code and the second under the corruption law - and the Rs 60 lakh fine is the stiffest punishment handed to Lalu Yadav in the fodder scam.
In 2013, Lalu Yadav was convicted in the first fodder scam case and sentenced to jail for five years. In the second case, he was sentenced to three-and-half years in jail in December last year and in the third, to five years in jail. He faces two more cases - one in Ranchi and one in Patna.
"I fear for his life," son Tejashwi Yadav later told reporters, claiming there appeared to be a conspiracy against his father.
The BJP and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are scared of him.... They do not want him to come out... because they know that PM Narendra Modi will not be able to realise his dream of a second term if Lalu Yadav comes out jail," the junior Yadav, also the leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly, said.
Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi brushed aside the remarks, "What is posing the threat to him? How can he be in danger when no one is allowed to meet him?" the senior BJP leader said.
This fourth fodder scam case relates to Rs. 3.13 crore swindled from the Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996.
Besides Lalu Yadav, there are 31 other accused in this case, including another former chief minister Jagannath Mishra, who was acquitted by the court on Monday.
Lalu Yadav's lawyers say he had expected relief in the Dumka treasury case as another chief minister had been acquitted.
Because of his conviction, Lalu Yadav can't contest elections or hold public office for years. In his absence, his son Tejashwi Yadav has led the party and was seen to prove himself up to the task when the RJD retained two key seats in Bihar bypolls.