CBI charges Lalu in fodder scandal

Himalayan News Service

Ranchi, May 17:

A special court in Jharkhand today framed charges against Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and 38 others accused in a case related to the multibillion-rupee embezzlement of public funds.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court also framed charges against former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra and several senior bureaucrats in the misappropriation scandal, popularly known as the fodder scam.

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. The charges have been framed against 39 of the total 49 accused under various sections of the Indian Penal Code relating to conspiracy, misappropriation of government funds, cheating and forgery and under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Six of the accused have already died and three of them turned approver.

Last month, charges were framed against the railway minister and 69 other accused in another fodder scam case, also related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 370 million from the Chaibasa treasury. Lalu had appeared in the court when the charges were framed.