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No Fear No Favour

All you need to know about Fooder Scam which shook Bihar’s political ground

As the fate of Lalu Prasad Yadav will be decided today in a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ranchi, the case has been the main focus area in Bihar and ruining the career of two stalwarts of politics – Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jagannath Mishra.

The tremor in the Bihar’s political ground began in 1997 when CBI investigations named Lalu Yadav in fodder scam which surfaced in 1996.

The multi-million scam came into the light when Rs 37.7 crore of fraudulent money was withdrawn from Chaibasa district. The name so connected was that of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jagannath Mishra, both former chief ministers of Bihar, and ministers from the department, two IAS officials and others.

In all 61 cases were filled by the CBI in the scam, 53 of which were transferred from Bihar to Jharkhand after the bifurcation of the state in November 2000.

Here is all you need to know about fodder scam:

January 1996: The scam surfaced after Deputy Commissioner Amit Khare raids the offices of Animal Husbandry Department and seizes documents that showed syphoning of public money by non-existent companies in the name of supplying fodder.

March 11, 1996: The Patna High Court directs the CBI to probe the scam which includes the name of Lalu Yadav. The Supreme Court upholds the order.

March 27, 1996: Charge-sheet was filled by the CBI.

June 23, 1997: For the first time Lalu Prasad Yadav name was mentioned in the charge sheet filed by the CBI. Sixty-three cases were registered under IPC sections 420 (forgery) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and Section 13 (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

July 30, 1997: Prasad surrenders himself and sent to judicial custody.

April 5, 2000: Charges were framed before the special CBI court. Rabri Devi’s name pops-up as co-accused. However, she was granted bail, Mr Prasad’s bail plea was rejected and he was remanded in judicial custody.

October 5, 2001: As the new state was made, the Supreme Court transfer the cases to Jharkhand.

February 2002: Trials began in the Ranchi special CBI court.

December 2006: Both Lalu Prasad and wife Rabri Devi were acquitted of charges in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case filed by the CBI.

June 2007: The special CBI court in Ranchi sentences 58 people, including two nephews of the then Railway Minister Lalu Yadav, to jail terms ranging from two-and-a-half-years to six years for fraudulently withdrawing Rs. 48 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury in the 1990s.

March 2012: Six months after their appearance before the Special CBI court, charges are framed against Mr Prasad and Mr Mishra. The court charges the former with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 47 lakh from the treasuries at Banka and Bhagalpur districts, where alleged forged and fake bills were drawn by the Animal Husbandry Department in 1995-96 when he was the Chief Minister.

August 13, 2013: The Supreme Court rejects Mr Prasad’s plea seeking the transfer of the trial court judge hearing the case.

September 17, 2013: The Special CBI court reserves its judgment.

September 30, 2013: Prasad and Mishra, along with 45 others are convicted by Special CBI Judge Pravas Kumar Singh. Mr Prasad stands disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha following the verdict. The two cannot contest any election, including those of the Assembly/Council, for six years from the date of their release from jail.

November 2014: The CBI challenges the order of the Jharkhand High Court quashing four pending fodder scam cases against Mr Prasad on the grounds that a person convicted in one case could not be tried in similar cases based on same witnesses and evidence. The court upholds the CBI plea to continue proceedings in the trial court against Mr Prasad under two sections.

November 2016: The Supreme Court pulls up Mr Mishra for allegedly dragging and delaying the appeal filed by the CBI challenging the quashing of four pending fodder scam cases against him.

May 2017: The Supreme Court holds that Mr Prasad and other accused persons, including Mr Mishra, will be tried separately for corruption in a criminal case involving the withdrawal of Rs. 84.53 lakh and falsification of records from the Deoghar Treasury in 1991-94

December 23, 2017: A special CBI court in Ranchi to pronounce the judgment in the case.

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