Lalu Yadav was sentenced today to five years in jail and fined ₹ 60 lakh in a fifth case linked to the fodder scam.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader was convicted in the case last week. The case involves the illegal withdrawal of ₹ 139.5 crore from the Doranda treasury, as part of the fodder scam that took place in the 1990s, when Lalu Yadav was Chief Minister of Bihar.
The three-time Chief Minister was found guilty along with 39 others.
“I fight those who create divides. They can’t defeat us so they try to trap us in conspiracies. I have neither been afraid, nor bent before anyone. I will keep fighting. The coward will never understand the struggles of a fighter,” Lalu Yadav tweeted in Hindi.
Lalu Yadav, who is out on bail and is unwell, joined the court hearing through video conferencing.
On February 15, after he was sentenced, the 73-year-old leader was taken to the jail hospital in Ranchi. He may be released soon as he has already spent over three and half years in jail.
One more case linked to the fodder scam is pending before the CBI court in Patna. The case deals with the illegal withdrawal of money from the Bank-Bhagalpur treasury.
The 950-crore fodder scam involved large-scale corruption in which funds meant for animal fodder were embezzled from multiple government treasuries across Bihar. The Animal Husbandry Department allegedly issued fake bills to facilitate the scam.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, asked about Lalu Yadav’s sentence, disassociated himself from the case. “When the case was filed, they came to me also. Some of those who did file cases are with him today,” Nitish Kumar said, adding that he refused to be a petitioner.
Lalu Yadav has challenged his conviction in four cases.
In jail since December 2017, Lalu Yadav served most of his sentence at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Jharkhand. He was brought to Delhi in January last year after his health worsened.
“We had the mandate to rule in the 2020 Bihar election but they (BJP and Nitish Kumar) made a backdoor entry and took power. The same person is being harassed over and over,” said Lalu Yadav’s son and RJD MLA Tejashwi Yadav, who is considered his political heir.