BJP hails Lalu Prasad's conviction

New Delhi, Sep 30 : The BJP Monday hailed Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad's conviction by a trial court in a corruption case related to the 1996 fodder scam in Bihar.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy called it justice for 10 crore people of Bihar, while Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley accused the central government of trying to shield the RJD leader through an ordinance.

"It is a historic judgment and a justice day for the 10 crore people of Bihar," Rudy told reporters.

He said although justice was delayed, this was an important decision.

Lalu Prasad was convicted for illegal withdrawal of crores of rupees from the animal husbandry department in Bihar, in what is popularly known as the fodder scam, by a CBI special court in Ranchi. He faces a maximum punishment of a life term. The court will pronounce the sentence Oct 3.

"We welcome the verdict. We believe Lalu Prasad was saving himself since the last 10 years by political compromises with the UPA (United Progressive Alliance)," he said.

He also wondered if a similar verdict will come in other scam cases.

"We wonder, after this historic judgment, would a similar judgment come in the 2G scam (related to telecom licences), CWG case (alleged corruption in organising Commonwealth Games 2010), coal scam (alleged wrongdoing in allocation of coal blocks), and 'railgate' (alleged bribery in railway appointments)," Rudy said.

Jaitley said: "It has taken 17 years for justice to be done. Public spirited litigants who put the process of law into motion succeeded in getting the case transferred from Bihar Police to the CBI. They succeeded in preventing the CBI, during the UPA government, from sabotaging its own case."

"When conviction appeared to be inevitable the UPA even prepared for life after conviction," Jaitley said, in an article released by the BJP Monday, referring to the recent ordinance approved by the union cabinet which seeks to override the Supreme Court decision on disqualifying convicted lawmakers.

"Today we have all understood why this ordinance was brought. Its only object was to help a loyal UPA ally who was likely to be convicted. In the end, justice has prevailed. Be you ever so high, the law is above you," he said.

Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "Fodder scam verdict convicting so many big leaders is an assurance for probity in our polity."

Lalu Prasad was convicted by a Central Bureau of Investigation special court in Ranchi, along with 44 others, for fraudulently withdrawing Rs.37.70 crore from the Chaibasa district treasury. Chaibasa is now in Jharkhand after the state was carved out of Bihar in 2000.

--IANS (Posted on 30-09-2013)

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