A Central Bureau of Investigation court in Ranchi will pronounce its judgement on Monday in the multi-crore fodder scam, in which Rashtriya Janata Party chief Lalu Prasad, if convicted, will face immediate disqualification as a Lok Sabha member.
Prasad and 44 others have been charged with fraudulent withdrawal to the tune of Rs 37.7 crore on fake fodder bills from Chaibasa treasury in the 1990s in a case lodged by the CBI. Chaibasa was then part of undivided Bihar.
Accompanied by son Tejaswi Pratap and a host of party colleagues, 65-year-old Prasad reached Ranchi to be present in the court when special CBI judge Pravas Kumar Singh delivers the verdict. Besides the RJD supremo, other accused persons include former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and Janata Dal-United Member of Parliament Jagdish Sharma.
The judgement in the fodder scam is likely to have a bearing on Bihar politics, as the RJD chief will face immediate disqualification as a Lok Sabha member if convicted as per a Supreme Court order that an MP or legislator would stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more.
The government later promulgated an ordinance to undo the apex court order, prompting opposition BJP to allege that it had been done to protect Congress member in Rajya Sabha Rashid Masood, who was recently convicted in a corruption case and also Prasad in case he is indicted in the fodder scam.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has, however, slammed the ordinance as "complete nonsense" which should be "torn up and thrown away," leaving its fate uncertain.