RANCHI: Sixty-four people were on Tuesday sentenced to two to five years’ imprisonment by a CBI special court here in a multi-crore rupee fodder scam that involved embezzlement of funds of the animal husbandry department in undivided Bihar that was meant for purchasing cattle fodder.
The 64 people, including 23 officials of the animal husbandry department, were accused of fraudulently withdrawing `12.22 crore from Ranchi’s Dornada treasury in case registered in 1996, an official said.
The CBI special court judge Mr N N Singh also slapped fines ranging from `25,000 to `10 lakh on the convicts.
Twenty convicts, who were awarded less than three years’ imprisonment, were granted bail by the court.
The CBI filed a charge-sheet against the accused in 2000. The charges were framed in 2004.
Two former Bihar chief ministers, Mr Lalu Prasad and Mr Jagannath Mishra, are accused in five cases. Their trial is on in CBI courts.
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 in the guise 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.
With Tuesday’s verdict, different CBI courts in Ranchi have passed judgments in 40 cases.
Some of the former officials and suppliers were convicted in more than one fodder case and would serve prison terms separately while their days spent in jail during investigation and trial would be deducted, according to a CBI official.