Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was convicted on Monday by a special CBI court in the fourth case of multi-crore fodder scam but acquitted another former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra.
Judge Shivpal Singh delivered the judgment in case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from December 1995 to January 1996 from the Dumka treasury. The verdict, scheduled on March 15, was deferred four times.
Expressing disappointment over the judgement, Rabri Devi and her elder son Tej Pratap Yadav said that they had thought Lalu will be acquitted.
"I was expecting acquittal. It disappointed us. But we respect the verdict and have faith in judiciary," Rabri Devi told the media here.
Tej Pratap said he expected "relief" for his father. Nonetheless, "we respect the court verdict".
Soon after the verdict, hundreds of RJD leaders and workers gathered outside 10, Circular Road, the official residence of Rabri Devi. Most said the RJD chief had been convicted due to political vendetta.
"How come Jagannath Mishra has been acquitted in a scam in which Lalu Prasad is convicted? Mishra was acquitted as he supported the BJP, which has 'managed' the CBI, and Lalu Prasad was convicted for fighting against them," RJD worker Mukesh Singh said.
The judge delivered the verdict alphabetically but Lalu Prasad -- who was the Chief Minister of undivided Bihar when the multi-million-rupee fodder scam surfaced in 1990s -- reached the court after it was delivered. Mishra was, however, present in the court.
Lalu Prasad was admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) on Saturday after he complained of constipation. His lawyer was present when the verdict was pronounced.
After the judgment, Lalu Prasad returned to RIMS for further treatment.
This is second case in which Mishra has been acquitted. Both Lalu Prasad and Mishra are facing five cases each in the fodder scam in Ranchi.
There were 31 accused in this case, of which 19 were convicted and 12 acquitted.
According to Lalu Prasad's lawyer Prabhat Kumar, the CBI court will deliver the quantum of the sentence later this week.
When the FIR was first filed against Lalu Prasad in 1996, there were 49 accused, out of which 14 died during trial.
Besides Mishra, the acquitted include politicians like Dhruva Bhagat, R.K. Rana and Jagdish Sharma.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) spokesperson Shakti Yadav said the party would challenge the verdict in the High Court.
Lalu Prasad was convicted in the first fodder scam case in 2013 and awarded five years in jail.
He was convicted in the second case on December 23, 2017 and awarded three-and-a-half years imprisonment.
The RJD chief was convicted in the third case on January 24 and awarded a five-year jail term.
The bulk of the cases were transferred to Ranchi after Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in 2000.
WATCH VIDEO: 4th Fodder Scam Case: Lalu Prasad Yadav convicted by Ranchi court