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Lalu convicted in yet another fodder case, sent straight to jail

New Delhi: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, who was hopeful of a '2G-like acquittal', was convicted in yet another fodder case by a special CBI court in Ranchi on Saturday. The quantum of punishment in the case, which relates to embezzling of more than Rs 89 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994, will be announced on January 3, 2018.
Besides Lalu, 15 others were pronounced guilty in the case while six were acquitted, including former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra. According to RJD leaders, the party will challenge the special CBI court order in the High Court.
Immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict, Lalu Prasad and the other convicts were taken into custody and sent to Birsa Munda jail in Ranchi. Earlier, when CBI Judge Shivpal Singh asked Lalu about his wellbeing on entering the court, the RJD leader replied with folded hands, "I am fine sir."
Soon after the announcement of the verdict, the socialist leader attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power both at the Centre and in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, saying that the 'sly' BJP is playing a dirty game to cover up its own scams and jumlebaji by spoiling public perceptions about leaders of the Opposition parties to get votes.
Comparing himself with South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela and anti-caste movement messiah Dr B R Ambedkar, Lalu, in a series of tweets, said, "Had people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Baba Saheb Ambedkar failed in their efforts, history would have treated them as villains. They still are villains for the biased, racist and casteist minds. No one should expect any different treatment."
"The truth is standing against people who have made false promises. In the war of truth, Lalu is not alone as the whole Bihar is with him," he added. Countering Lalu's charges, senior BJP leader and Union Minister JP Nadda said, "Instead of accepting the verdict, Lalu is politicising the issue… just to deviate by leveling allegations of conspiracy on the BJP. The alliance between the Congress and RJD is an alliance of corruption, connivance and cheating the people of India. It is clear from the verdict of the court."
Defending his father and appealing to party members to maintain peace, RJD leader and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said, "Laluji was born in poverty and in a 'low' caste. He shook the foundations of the established forces with his firepower. That was, in reality, the biggest 'scam', the consequences of which are being borne by him." Commenting on the verdict, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari said, "If these allegations are being investigated, why is it that the Srijan scam is not being investigated? Why are there different strokes for different folks?"
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