Lalu, Mishra deny charges in fodder scam case (Lead)

February 14th, 2012 - 6:30 pm ICT by IANS  

R0anchi, Feb 14 (IANS) Two former Bihar chief ministers, Lalu Prasad and Jagannath Mishra have denied charges made against them in a case related to the multi-million rupee fodder scam.

The two contested the charges when they appeared in a special CBI court in Ranchi Tuesday where their statements in the case were recorded.

Both Lalu Prasad and Mishra denied the charges of involvement in the case and said they were being falsely implicated. Both told the court that the CBI has no proof against them in the fodder scam case.

The CBI court asked Lalu Prasad 25 and Mishra nine questions related to extensions given to key accused of the fodder scam cases and others.

Lalu Prasad arrived under heavy security cover around 11 a.m. The statements of both Lalu and Mishra were recorded in the CBI special court of Judge P.K. Singh.

Lalu Prasad appeared in one of the 61 fodder scam cases - RC 20 A/96 - which is related to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs.37 crore from the Chaibasa district treasury. There were 330 witnesses in the case and their statements have been recorded.

There are 46 accused in the case, including Lalu Prasad and Mishra. The recording of their statements began Monday and it will continue till Wednesday.

On Monday, a total of ten accused recorded their statements. Among them were Jagdish Sharma, a Lok Sabha member from Jahanabad in Bihar, former Indian Administrative Service officers Julius Beck, Mahendra Prasad and Phul Chandra Singh, and animal husbandry department officers K.M. Prasad and S.N. Sharma.

Lalu Prasad and Mishra are accused in five cases related to the scam. Their trial is going on in the Ranchi CBI courts. Lalu Prasad had to quit the Bihar chief minister’s post in 1997 after an arrest warrant was issued against him.

The fodder scam hit the headlines in the late 1990s in Bihar, where officials and politicians were accused of illegally withdrawing crores of rupees of public money on the pretext of purchasing cattle fodder.

A total of 61 cases were filed in the scam and 53 were transferred to Jharkhand after it was carved out from Bihar in 2000.

Various CBI special courts in Ranchi have passed judgments in 40 cases.

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