Laloo Prasad charged with corruption
NEW DELHI: A special court on Monday charged Indian railways minister Laloo Prasad Yadav in a multi-million dollar corruption case.
Yadav attended the hearing in Ranchi, capital of the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, where the charges were read out to him and 69 others. The United News of India said Yadav told the court the charges were “false”.
Yadav was chief minister of impoverished Bihar state when 370 million rupees (eight million dollars) was withdrawn from Chaibasa district, allegedly to buy cattle fodder for distribution among the poor.
A total of 220 million dollars was allegedly withdrawn with Yadav’s tacit approval from animal husbandry departments in different parts of the state, formally part of Bihar. The reading of the charges in the special court of India’s top investigation agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, opens the way for the full trial of the scam which came to light in 1996.
Another former Bihar chief minister, Jaganath Mishra, was also charged, along with senior civil servants.
Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal party -an ally of the ruling Congress Party - administered Bihar continuously for almost 15 years from 1991 until his party lost in provincial polls last February.
India’s opposition demanded Yadav’s resignation from the federal cabinet. “Charges have been framed against Yadav and his associates under various sections including cheating and fraud,” Vijay Kumar Malhotra, a spokesman for the Hindu nationalist BJP party, told parliament.
“A federal minister had to appear before a court and therefore the prime minister should dismiss him forthwith.” afp