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Charges framed against Lalu

Tuesday 26 April 2005

Jagannath Mishra, 68 others also face charges in fodder scam case

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``I am innocent:’’ Railway Minister Lalu Prasad leaves the special CBI court in Ranchi on Monday. - Photo: PTI

RANCHI: A special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday framed charges against the Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal president, Lalu Prasad, in a case relating to the multi-crore fodder scam.

Besides Mr. Prasad, charges were also framed against the former Bihar Chief Minister, Dr. Jagannath Mishra, the former Union Minister Chandradeo Prasad Verma and 67 others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

Mr. Prasad, Dr. Mishra and other accused were present when the charges were read out in the special court of the CBI Judge IV (CBI animal husbandry scam cases), Uma Shankar Prasad Sinha.

Conspiracy cases

Mr. Prasad, who was chief minister of Bihar when the scam surfaced, also appeared in another CBI court in a separate fodder scam case. Both Mr. Lalu Prasad and Dr. Mishra pleaded innocence. Their lawyers said they would move the Jharkhand High Court against the CBI court’s framing of charges.

Mr. Prasad is also facing corruption charges in six other conspiracy angle cases of the Rs. 950-crore fodder scam.

The trial in the disproportionate assets case against him and his wife, the former Chief Minister, Rabri Devi, is in the final stage of hearing. This assets case, an offshoot of the fodder scam, charges Mr. Prasad with having accumulated assets worth over Rs. 46 lakhs disproportionate to his known sources of income when he was chief minister.

The CBI has filed charge sheets in the six cases while charges have been framed against Mr. Prasad and others in two cases - (RC 20(a)/1996 and RC 68(a)/96). While RC 20(a) relates to "fraudulent withdrawals" of Rs. 37 crores from the Chaibasa treasury, the other case relates to "fraudulent and excessive withdrawals" of more than Rs. 37 crores from the same treasury by the Animal Husbandry Department officials through "forged and fake" bills.

Four other cases against the RJD leader deal with "fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 3 crores from Dumka, Rs. 182 crores from Doranda, Rs. 3 crores from Dumka and Rs. 47 lakhs from the Bhagalpur treasuries." Mr. Prasad resigned as chief minister on July 25, 1997 after the Supreme Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea and asked him to surrender in case no. RC 20(a)/96.

Mr. Prasad said the charges framed against him were "false". Dr. Mishra also contested the charge, saying he was "innocent." - PTI, UNI

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