Fodder Scam Verdict Says Lalu Yadav took Bribe To Scuttle Probe

The 326-page judgment in the latest fodder scam case against Lalu Yadav has come as a shock for the lawyers of the veteran politician. Sources said the details it contains may mar the chances of bail for the 69-year-old, who was convicted in two cases within a month and is currently in jail.

In a first, the judgment in the Chaibasa treasury case - in which Lalu Yadav received a five year jail term last week -- mentions a witness who detailed not only monetary transactions in the Rs 970-crore scam, but also how the then Chief Minister accepted bribes with promises to derail investigations.

Deepesh Chandok, a supplier who became an approver, told the court about the financial transactions and laid bare the nexus between politicians like Lalu Yadav and Dr Jagannath Mishra to the scam kingpin.

According to him, approximately Rs 55 to 60 crore was paid to Lalu Yadav between 1990 and 1996 by the fodder department officials. Most the payments were made to Dr RK Rana or Prem Gupta, close aides of Lalu Yadav.

In particular, Deepesh Chandok has told the court about a meeting between Lalu Yadav and scam kingpin Shyam Bihari Sinha - the director of animal husbandry department in Ranchi, who has since died. Deepesh Chandok was the right hand man of Shyam Bihari Sinha.

In January 1996, after the police raids in the fodder scam started, Shyam Bihari Sinha had met Lalu Yadav in Delhi and was assured that the investigations would be confined to the irregularities committed in 1995-1996. It would have been a relief to the official, who was part of the department till December 1994.

The actual scope of the scam was the embezzlement that went on for seven years -- from 1990 to 1997 -- by officials of the animal husbandry department.

In return for the favour, Lalu Yadav - who was the Chief Minister of undivided Bihar till 1997 -- had asked for Rs 10 crore, Deepesh Chandok had said. The same night, Rs 50 lakhs were paid. Later, two other suppliers paid the balance to Dr RK Rana.

During the police investigations, Lalu Yadav had given strict orders that no case could be filed unless there was solid evidence. "There should be no witch-hunt," then Chief Minister had said.

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