M A I N   N E W S

More charges framed against Lalu Yadav

Ranchi, May 17
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today filed charges against Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in connection with his alleged role in perpetrating a multi-million rupees fodder scam, along with former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra in 1996.

CBI Special Court judge Sanjay Prasad framed the charges against Lalu Prasad in connection with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from Dumka treasury between December, 1995 and January, 1996. Yadav was the Chief Minister of Bihar during the period.

The framing of charges against Yadav refers to criminal conspiracy and misuse of official position. Mishra, a former Congress leader, has also been charged by the CBI, along with Yadav in the Rs 960 crore scandal.

Mishra said he was being implicated in the case. “I told the court that there is nothing Lalu Yadav and I did. I am just being implicated in this,” he said.

The RJD leader was also present in the court. The charges were framed under Sections 420 (cheating), 120 b (conspiracy), sections 467 and 477 of the Indian Penal code (467, 477) and Sections 13(1) and 13(1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

If he had failed to turn up before the court retired for the day, the court would have split the case while cancelling his arrest warrant, CBI court sources said.

With this, the way has been cleared for the trial beginning on June 20 in the case of alleged fraudulent withdrawals in 1995-96 by the Animal Husbandry Department of over Rs.37 million from the Dumka treasury - money that was earmarked for buying animal fodder for poor farmers.

During the course of the trial, 345 witnesses would be examined.

There were a total of 49 accused in the case relating to fraudulent withdrawal from the Dumka treasury. While six of the accused died, three of them turned approvals.

On April 25, another special CBI court of Umashankar Prasad had framed charges against Yadav, Mishra and 68 others in a case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37 crore from Chaibasa treasury, now in Jharkhand, in 1996.

The CBI has filed chargesheets in 60 cases, of which 53 are being tried in the courts at Ranchi and seven in Patna. The Rs 950 crore fodder scam was unearthed in Bihar in 1996.

The fodder scam has become a bone of contention between the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), of which Yadav is an important ally, and the BJP-led opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which has demanded Lalu’s resignation.

The standoff led the Opposition to boycott the recent Budget Session of Parliament, lashing out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for being soft on a charged minister. — ANI

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