Supreme Court today dealt a heavy blow to the political future of Bihar heavyweight leader and RJD Supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav by allowing trial for conspiracy charges in the fodder scam case.
When the fodder scam broke out in 1996, Lalu was the most powerful person in Bihar. Some started believing that in case of a coalition Govt at the center, Lalu can even be projected as the next PM of India. However, on Jan 27 1996, Deputy Commissioner Amit Khare raided the offices of Bihar animal husbandry department in Chaibasa and all hell broke loose. A massive scam was unearthed where it was found that several fictitious companies were used to purchase and supply cattle fodder in Bihar. On papers, there was a long trail of fodder being purchased, being trasnported and then being used by cattles, but in reality the purchases never happened. The whole scam was said to be worth a whopping Rs. 4.50 billion.
By June of 1997, CBI filed chargsheets against Lalu and 55 others and on June 30th 1997, Lalu surrendered and was sent to jail. Lalu looses his CM’s post and hands it over to his wife Rabri Devi. He also splits JD and forms his own party as RJD. Although Lalu came out of jail after just 135 days on Dec 12th 1997, life was never the same for him. By April 4th 2000, Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi was also chargesheeted and when CBI had framed the charges on April 5th, Lalu was arrested once more. Rabri Devi got bail because of being the CM of Bihar. Lalu got the bail on May 10th which has been given 25 extensions.
On 14th March 2014 Special CBI court convicted Lalu Yadav and hence he was disqualified from Parliament and was barred to contest elections for the next 6 years. Soon after in the Lok Sabha elections, his RJD suffered a humiliating defeat winning just 4 seats. Soon after Lalu changed his tracks and allied with JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar who was once his bitter foes. They fought the 2016 State Assembly elections together and surprisingly RJD won more seats than JD(U).
Lalu almost seemed to have the last laugh as not only he managed to resurrect RJD and become the largest party in Bihar, he was also able to place his two sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi Yadav in key positions in Bihar Govt. Tejashwi Yadav was even made the deputy CM of Bihar. However, some events in past few weeks have put a dampner in Lalu’s plans in Bihar.
First it was Sushil Modi who released documents stating that Lalu and his sons were involved in land scams as well as soil scam in Bihar. While lalu was try to counter these claims came Arnab Goswami’s Republic channel which brought out a recording of Lalu Yadav with Siwan’s Shahbuddin while the latter was in Jail. Lalu was not just talking to a convict on phone but even seemed to be taking instructions from him which became a huge controversy.
And today, Supreme Court has said today that Lalu Yadav will be tried in all five fodder scam cases. He has already been sentenced to five years in Jail in 2013 and today’s verdict means that he will have to now frequently appear in the court and may even have to complete his jail term.
Lalu has remained powerful against all adversities in Bihar. With 2019 Lok Sabha Elections approaching fast, all eyes are now on Lalu to see how he comes out of this situation. He has always been the most important politician govening the state either directly or through his family members and it’d be interseting to see how he manages the current set of problems.