Ranchi: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad's advocate today filed a plea before the Ranchi Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court seeking minimum punishment for the party supremo on health grounds.
When Lalu Yadav appeared in the court for the proceeding of the quantum of sentence he informed the judge that it is very cold inside the jail to which the judge asked him to play tabla. They also added that Lalu had no direct role in the scam, has always cooperated in legal procedures and obeyed all orders.
RC64A/96 relates to the fraudulent withdrawal from Deoghar Treasury with the help of 6 fake allotment letters during 1991 to 1994. Earlier, the judge said that he received phone calls from the RJD chief's well-wishers enquiring about the quantum of sentence for Lalu Prasad.
To this, Lalu said he was for personal appearance and assured the court that there would be no slogans raised in the courtroom by his supporters.
Sources in Ranchi told DH that CBI judge Shiv Pal Singh heard the arguments on behalf of five of the total 16 convicts in the fodder scam case RC 64A/96 through video-conferencing. On Saturday, the hearing of the remaining six convicts will commence at 2pm.
The 69-year-old RJD leader is lodged in the central jail since his conviction on December 23.
He also submitted that his client was pronounced five-year jail term in fodder scam case RC20A/96 amounting to Rs 31 crore, while RC64A/96 amounts to just Rs 79 lakh, hence punished sentence may be pronounced accordingly. With the court room packed, the judge asked the advocates not connected with the fodder scam case to leave.
The CBI special court in Ranchi was expected to award the quantum of punishment for RJD chief Lalu Prasad and 15 others on January 3, but due to the sudden demise of an advocate, the announcement was deferred to January 4.
Fifteen others, who were convicted in the scam, will also be sentenced today along with Lalu Prasad waited in the court.
The court had convicted Prasad for offences of cheating with criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.