Ranchi. A special CBI court in Ranchi on Saturday sentenced former Bihar chief minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to three and a half years of rigorous imprisonment and fined him of Rs.10 lakh in a 21-year-old fodder scam case.

Special CBI judge Shivpal Singh also sentenced 15 other convicts jail terms ranging from three and a half years to seven years and fined them Rs.5 lakh to Rs.10 lakhs for their involvement in the scam related to fraudulent withdrawal of funds from a government treasury. Those who were handed out sentence included Jagdish Sharma, the then Public Accounts Committee chairman, former RJD leader R.K. Rana and three IAS officers.  

“Rather than practising BJP’s Simple Rule – “Follow us or We will Fix you”, I will die happily fixing myself for Social justice, harmony & equality,” Yadav tweeted immediately after the verdict.

On December 23, the court had held Yadav and others guilty of corruption, cheating and criminal conspiracy relating to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs.89.27 lakh from the treasury in Deoghar between 1991 and 1996. Since then, Yadav has been lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi.

The court had acquitted six of the 22 accused including another former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra, whose son is now in BJP.

Yadav’s lawyer told reporters that they would move the Jharkhand high court for bail for Yadav after going through the judgment.

Yadav had earlier been convicted in another fodder scam case and sentenced to five years in jail in 2013, which prevented him from contesting elections for 11 years.

But despite his conviction, Yadav remained one of the most popular political figures of Bihar. He was the key person in the formation of a “grand alliance” with chief minister Nitish Kumar during the 2015 state elections. The alliance came to power defeating the BJP but last year Kumar deserted Yadav’s RJD to go back to BJP.