Dashing his hopes of exoneration, a special CBI court in Ranchi on Saturday held RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav guilty in a case of fodder scam and reserved January 3 as the date to pronounce the quantum of punishment.
However, co-accused including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra was let off in the case pertaining to embezzlement of over Rs. 85 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.
A total of 17 accused including Lalu were pronounced guilty by the court while six were let off.
According to reports, Lalu will be taken straight to Birsa Munda jail and will be lodged there till January 3.
Lalu was inside the courtroom in Ranchi along with his son Tejashwi when the verdict was delivered at around 3.45 pm while scores of RJD workers waited outside.
Police personnel along with Rapid Action Force (RAF) in riot gear surrounded the court premises to prevent any violence by Lalu’s supporters.
Speaking to the media before the verdict, Lalu had accused the BJP government of conspiring against him.
“I have full faith in judiciary. I will be acquitted I am confident. This is a big conspiracy against me by the BJP,” Lalu had told reporters.
His son Tejashwi Yadav too had expressed confidence that his father would be acquitted.
“The BJP is conspiring against Lalu ji. This is the dirty and below the belt politics of the BJP. We trust the judiciary and hope the verdict will be in our favor,” Tejashwi said.
“Just like BJP propaganda was busted in 2G Scam and Adarsh Scam, similar will happen now,” he added.
The judgment comes on the back of the 2G verdict wherein all 18 accused including A Raja and K Kanimozhi were acquitted by the court.
Both Lalu and Tejashwi had expressed confidence of getting a favourable judgment much to their dismay.
Lalu, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief, reached Ranchi on Friday evening, along with Tejashwi to hear the verdict.
The RJD chief has already been convicted in another fodder scam case that cost him his Lok Sabha seat and disqualified him from contesting elections. Both Lalu and Jagannath Mishra are out on bail in the case.
Hearing in the multi-million fodder scam case, which relates to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 84.5 lakh from Deoghar district treasury, was completed on December 13 in a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court of Ranchi.
Special CBI judge Shivapal Singh fixed December 23 for pronouncing the judgment and asked all the accused to remain present in the court on that day.
In all, there were 34 accused in the case, out of which 11 died during the course of the trial, while one turned CBI approver and admitted the crime.