26 fodder scam convicts awarded rigorous imprisonment

Ranchi, April 27 (Inditop) Twenty-six convicts of a multi-million fodder scam case were Monday awarded three to six years of rigorous imprisonment by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Jharkhand.

Judge A.H. Ansari also slapped fine ranging from Rs.1 lakh to Rs .ten lakh on the 26 convicts, who were held guilty by the court last Friday.

If the convicts fail to deposit the fine, they will have to spend six months more in imprisonment.

The court had convicted 40 accused in the case related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs.90 crore from a government treasury in early 1990s. There were a total of 55 accused in the case and the charge sheet was filed in 1999.

Eight of the accused died during the course of the trial, one turned approver, one pleaded guilty and two are still absconding.

Two accused were acquitted and one is undergoing treatment in a mental hospital of Ranchi.

The court Friday sentenced 14 of the convicts to three years’ imprisonment and slapped fine between Rs.15,000 and Rs.5 lakh against them.

Till now, CBI courts have passed judgment in nearly 30 cases of the scam. Railways Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and former chief minister of Bihar Jagannath Mishra are accused in five of the fodder scam cases, trials of which are underway in Ranchi CBI courts.

Sixty-three cases were filed in the Rs.90 crore Animal Husbandry Department (AHD) scam which surfaced in 1996 during undivided Bihar.

Lalu Prasad was the chief minister of Bihar then and had to quit after the CBI filed charges against him in the scam. After Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar, 52 cases were transferred to Ranchi.