By Purnima Mohindra
A special CBI court finally sentenced Rashtriya Janta Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to 5-year rigorous imprisonment in a 17-year old fodder scam. A staggering total of Rs. 650 Crore was looted from Bihar state’s animal husbandry department. This is the mother of all scams. The scam involves senor politicians and bureaucrats. In 1996 Amit Khare, a deputy commissioner of West Singhbhum in Bihar found proof of this scam but was punished by transferring him to defunct leather department. Many successive reports which pointed to money overdrawn from treasuries were silently trashed and even when CBI inquiry was ordered, the CBI transferred its key fodder investigators.
Lalu Prasad thought he was invincible but even though it took 17 long years, law finally caught up with him. The fact that it took 17 years to catch up with him is mostly due to Yadav’s tactics and disarming candor. A holder of degree of law and a master’s degree in political science Yadav’s greed was the tragic flaw in his character. When Lalu came to power IAS officers and ministers were looting money from state treasuries in the name of buying fodder, medicines etc for non- existent herds of cattle. But Yadav instead of putting a stop on them joined in the loot. A stint of 15 years at the throne of Bihar paved way of utter chaos and lawlessness.
Kidnappings for ransom and ‘Goonda raj’ became common in Bihar and soon the once prosperous state was at the lowest economic and social ranking in the country. In his hay days Lalu was considered country’s foremost mass leader and kept party in power for 15 years. But this court verdict clearly proves that in spite of various bottlenecks the emphasis is on the good of the society and even charismatic leaders with rare wit and self assurance cannot escape the long arm of law and will finally face a dead end of their political career whenever found guilty.