In a setback for RJD Chief and former Chief Minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, the latest ruling of the Supreme Court ordered him to face trial for corruption charges levied against him. The Court ruled that the CBI must complete the trial within nine months, while also quashing his application for removal of graver charges including criminal conspiracy.
The ruling has come as a blow to the three-party coalition government headed by Nitish Kumar in Bihar, who is under immense pressure to comment on their association with the controversial Yadav family.
Yadav is currently banned from running for elections after being convicted in the infamous ‘fodder scam’ that took place in the 1990s, while he was heading the Bihar government. The feed for cattle was either bought using fake invoices which contained inflated costs or the feed wasn’t bought at all. According to the CBI, the fraud was worth about ₹ 1,000 crores that went on for 7 years.
In 2013, Yadav, was convicted by a trial court in Jharkhand and sentenced to five years imprisonment in one of the six cases embedded in the fodder scam. The High Court then altered the decision in his favour under the right against double jeopardy. However, the Supreme Court has reinstated the charges today.
It took more than a decade and a half for the fodder scam case to reach close to a possible verdict.
The BJP demanded Kumar to take action against Yadav after a TV channel broadcasted what it claimed were secretly-taped conversations between Yadav and gangster
Mohammad Shahabuddin, a leader from his party, who is incarcerated. The phone call was allegedly taped last year. The BJP says it confirms that Yadav was in touch with a jailed underworld don and offered to examine various complaints he made, including about a police officer whose performance he described as problematic. The authenticity of the tape has not been verified yet.
Under Yadav’s leadership, the state of Bihar became synonymous with violence. However, he still enjoys huge support for winning the hearts of backward castes and in the 2015 Bihar Elections, his party won the highest number of seats, but agreed to honour an earlier commitment with Kumar to serve as a secondary party in the alliance.
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