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Lalu seeks ‘minimum punishment’ in fodder scam due to ‘poor health’

SNS | New Delhi |

As the special CBI court in Ranchi is all set to sentence RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in a case of fodder scam, the former Bihar chief minister on Friday sought minimum punishment owing to his poor health.

In a plea filed in the court of Justice Shivpal Singh, Lalu’s lawyer has pleaded to the court have mercy on his client who is a heart patient and also has diabetes.

The plea further said that the Birsa Munda jail in Ranchi, where Lalu is lodged at present doesn’t have clean drinking water which could be harmful to Lalu’s health.

Moreover, there’s no provision for any medical care in case of an emergency, the court was told.

Therefore, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief should be let off with minimum punishment.

The request comes a day after Lalu told the court that he felt very cold in the jail to which the judge replied play ‘tabla’.

Interestingly, the judge on Thursday revealed that he was getting phone calls from “Lalu’s men” about the case indicating that he was being threatened.

On Tuesday, the former Bihar CM’s lawyer had urged the court for minimum punishment owing to the RJD chief’s age.

Lalu is likely to get three to seven years’ punishment, as per reports. If he is awarded three years’ sentence, he will be able to get bail soon.

The fodder scam relates to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 89.27 lakh from Deoghar treasury 21 years ago.

His co-accused and 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.

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 was completed on December 13 in a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court of Ranchi.

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.