A special CBI court in Ranchi has sentenced RJD chief Lalu Yadav to five years imprisonment while former CM Jagannath Mishra and JDU MP Jagdish Sharma got four years jail in the fodder scam
Lalu Prasad Yadav, the chief of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and former chief minister of Bihar has been sentenced to five years imprisonment by the special Court of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the multi-crore fodder scam. Bihar's former CM Jagannath Mishra and Jagdish Sharma, the member of Parliament (MP) from Janata Dal (United) have been sentenced four year jail term, each. Yadav has also been fined Rs25 lakh in the scam. The CBI court has awarded five-year imprisonment to former district animal husbandry officer BN Sharma while imposing a fine of Rs1.5 crore.
The sentencing by special CBI judge Pravas Kumar Singh disqualifies the RJD leader from Parliament and renders him ineligible for contesting elections for 11 years.
Six other politicians and four IAS officers, among the convicted, were also sentenced to prison terms for fraudulent withdrawal of Rs37.7 crore from the Chaibasa treasury when Prasad was heading the RJD government in the early 1990s.
A sitting MP from Jahanabad, Sharma also faces disqualification in the wake of a Supreme Court judgement that an MP or MLA would stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more and under some other laws even without jail sentence.
RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha has said the verdict would be challenged in a higher court.
The fodder scam was a corruption scandal that involved the embezzlement of about Rs950 crore (equivalent to Rs2,000 crore or $310 million in 2013) from the government treasury of Bihar. Among those implicated in the theft and arrested were Lalu Yadav, the then chief minister of Bihar as well as former CM Mishra. The scandal led to the end of Yadav's reign as chief minister of Bihar. On 25 July 1997, Lalu resigned from his position, but installed his wife Ravri Devi as the new chief minister of Bihar. On 28 July 1997, Rabri's new government won another vote of confidence in the Bihar legislature by 194–110, thanks to the Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha voting in alignment with the RJD.
There were also allegation on Nitish Kumar and Shivanand Tiwari of receiving Rs1 crore and Rs60 lakh, respectively from SB Sinha.
The theft spanned many years, and allegedly involved numerous administrative and elected officials across multiple administrations of the Congress and the Janata Dal parties. The corruption scheme involved the fabrication of "vast herds of fictitious livestock" for which fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured.
Although the scandal broke in 1996, the theft had been in progress, and increased in size, for over two decades. Besides the magnitude and duration of the theft, the scam was and continues to be covered in Indian media due to the extensive nexus between tenured bureaucrats, elected politicians and businesspeople that it revealed, and as an example of the mafia raj that has penetrated several state-run economic sectors in the country.
As of May 2013, the trial has completed in 44 cases out of a total of 53 cases. More than 500 accused have been convicted and awarded punishments by various courts.
In 1992, Bidhu Bhushan Dvivedi, a police inspector with Bihar's anti-corruption vigilance unit submitted a report outlining the fodder scam and likely involvement at the chief ministerial level to the director general of the same vigilance unit, G Narayan. In alleged reprisal, Dvivedi was transferred out of the vigilance unit to a different branch of the administration, and then suspended from his position. He later became a witness as corruption cases relating to the scam went to trial, and reinstated by order of the Jharkhand High Court.
A roundup of interesting stories about US government shutdowns
We’ve been here before: The U.S. government has shut down due to lack of funding 18 times in its history. Most of those shutdowns were short-lived, usually lasting only a few days or a little over a week. The longest shutdown was also the most recent – 21 days in the winter of 1995 and 1996. We’ve compiled some of the best writing about that shutdown and the current one.
Absolutely everything you need to know about how the government shutdown will work, Wonkblog, September 30, 2013
If you haven’t been following the story, Wonkblog will catch you up.
Rant, Listen, Exploit, Learn, Scare, Help, Manipulate, Lead, New York Times Magazine, January 28, 1996
In the wake of the 1996 shutdown, the New York Times Magazinedelved into the thinking of the man behind the move, then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
Distance From Budget Crisis No Comfort to Illinois Town, Los Angeles Times, January 7, 1996
Two Los Angeles Timesreporters trekked out to the small, conservative town of Sycamore, Ill. during the 1996 shutdown, where citizens fed up with politics were beginning to experience the effects of cuts in government services.
National Zoo reopens, but it's far from business as usual, Washington Post, January 7, 1996
If the government shuts down, who ships the elephant, rhino, hippo and giraffe manure out of the National Zoo? The Washington Post reported on the surprising and fascinating ways the 1996 shutdown hampered zoo operations.
Last Shutdown a Lesson Lost on Capitol Hill, New York Times, September 28, 2013
The last shutdown was actually quite different from the current one. For instance, in 1995, Congress had passed several appropriations bills, which funded parts of the government. Today, Congress hasn’t passed any.
The Odd Story of the Law That Dictates How Government Shutdowns Work, The Atlantic, September 28, 2013
No other government in the world shuts down the way the American government does, and it’s all because of an obscure law passed in the late 1800s. The Antideficiency Act was originally meant to prevent the president from entering into contracts before Congress approved the spending. Now it means that Congress can shut down the Executive Branch’s “non-essential” operations.
Australia had a government shutdown once. In the end, the queen fired everyone in Parliament, Wonkblog, October 1, 2013
In 1975, Australia’s parliament shut down the government during a budgetary battle. But over the course of one afternoon, Queen Elizabeth II’s official representative dissolved the whole Parliament. A month later, Australians elected a whole new government, and it has never had a shutdown since.
Tim Harford is back making the dismal science sound very interesting
Will we be richer...