A special CBI court in Ranchi on Monday convicted RJD chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad in the fourth fodder scam case 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.
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 came.
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.
Reacting to the judgement, RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said: "There were four conspirators in the case and three including Mishra have been acquitted. This indicates that (Prime Minster) Narendra Modi is playing some game. We will appeal."
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.