As Lalu Prasad Yadav stares at a jail-term, know all the details of Chara Ghotala or Fodder Scam in brief.
Fodder Scam: RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is set to be sentenced in 22-year-old fodder scam or ‘Chara Ghotala’. The sentencing is a serious blow to Yadav at a time when he is combating with PM Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar in Bihar and on the national front. His party, which was recently thrown out of power in the state, is in dire need of proper direction and witty moves. While Lalu has passed the baton to his son, it remains a fact that Tejashwi is new in politics and faces the challenge of accessibility across the state. The former Bihar chief minister will have to serve jail-term at a time when his opponents, JDU and BJP, are ruling the state. His daughter Misa and son-in-law Sailesh are also facing an ED probe into an alleged money laundering case. Son Tejashwi and Tej Pratap, and wife Rabri Devi, are also under the scanner in an alleged corruption case.
All the developments are taking place even as Lalu aspires to throw Modi out of power in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Adding to Lalu’s woes, Modi is joined by almost all other big players in state that includes JDU, LJP, RSLP and HAM. This translates into the fact that if NDA remains intact, then a brigade of influential leaders – Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan, Jitan Ram Manjhi and Upendra Kushwaha will be rallying against the Lalu family. The question looms large – will Lalu’s era end in Bihar? Meanwhile, lets have a look at what exactly is Fodder scam or Chara Ghotala?
What is Chara Ghotala or fodder scam?
– First emerged in 1985, fodder scam is 22-year-old case of fraudulent transaction up to the tune of Rs 950 crores. The scam or irregularity was first sniffed by CAG TN Chaturvedi in the year 1985 who noticed that Bihar government kept delaying the monthly filing of the account status.
– The case resurfaced again in 1996. On 27 January, CBI carried out raids on offices of Animal Husbandry department in Chaibasa. The scam took its notorious name ‘Chara Ghotala’ (fodder scam) as it emerged that large-scale funds were embezzled in the name of transactions made to non-existent companies – for purchase and supply of cattle fodder in Bihar in the 1990s.
– Later, CBI formally requested the then Governor of Bihar for permission to prosecute the CM. The central investigation agency filed charge sheets against Lalu Yadav and 55 other co-accused in 1997. As per an Indian Express report, the accused had 63 cases registered against them under three sections: IPC Sections 420 (forgery) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and Section 13 (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Lalu Yadav’s resignation and formation of RJD
As the case got media attention, Lalu came under immense opposition and public pressure to resign. In 1997, Lalu Yadav resigned from the post of chief minister as his then party, Janata Dal, pressured him to leave office while being under criminal prosecution. Lalu left Janata Dal and formed his own party Rashtriya Janata Dal. He soon installed his wife Rabri Devi, as chief minister of Bihar who won vote of confidence in July 1997.
2013 verdict against Lalu
In October 2013, Lalu Prasad Yadav was sentenced to five years in prison in the case. The verdict unseated Lalu as an MP. Also, the ruling barred him from participating in elections for the next 11 years.
What is the current status of the case in the state?
The case was subjudice for the past 22 years. In May 2017, Supreme Court ruled Yadav has to face separate trials in each of the cases and if found guilty may be punished separately. On December 23, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief along with 14 others was found guilty by the court while seven accused including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra were acquitted.