Supreme Court revives criminal conspiracy charge against Lalu in fodder scam case

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court reinstated on Monday criminal conspiracy charges against Lalu Prasad in a fodder scam case.

The ruling came on an appeal by the Central Bureau of Investigation against a 2014 order from the Jharkhand high court that said Prasad could not be tried for the same crime twice, referring to his previous conviction that also led to his disqualification from Parliament and earned him a ban from contesting elections.

The SC said on Monday that separate trials will be held against Prasad in the remaining of the fodder scam case.

Prasad was in 2013 convicted for his role in fraudulent withdrawals from the Chaibasa treasury that was part of a 20-year racket to bleed more than Rs 900 crore from public funds. It earned him a five-year sentence, and he spent time in prison briefly before being given bail by the top court.

Monday’s ruling gives his rivals, particularly the BJP, ammunition to target him again. He and his family — his two sons are ministers — has recently been under fire for acquiring a mall in Patna through front companies.

The case in which the top court have its judgement on Monday pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 96 lakh during the RJD chief’s chief ministerial tenure.

The fodder scam saw powerful people in the state embezzle funds from the exchequer for fictitious medicines and fodder for cattle. The scam came to light in 1996.

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