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In a body blow to RJD before next year's Lok Sabha polls, its President Lalu Prasad was on Monday convicted by a special CBI court here in the fodder scam corruption case that disqualifies him from Parliament and renders him ineligible for contesting elections for at least six years.
Another 44 accused, including former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra, six politicians and four IAS officers, were also convicted by court of Pravas Kumar Singh for fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa treasury.
The court fixed October three for pronouncement of sentence against Yadav, Mishra and others. The RJD chief was taken to the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi after being convicted by the court.
The RJD chief faces immediate disqualification as Lok Sabha member under a recent Supreme Court order that an MP or MLA would stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more and under some other laws even without jail sentence.
The August judgement of the Supreme Court struck down a provision in the electoral law that provided protection to sitting MPs and MLAs by allowing them to continue in their posts if they appeal against a lower court conviction and secure a stay of the order.
Lalu would have got protection from disqualification if the ordinance promulgated by the Centre was cleared by President Pranab Mukherjee but he is said to have some reservations and raised questions over it.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi has compounded problems by attacking the ordinance and calling for its withdrawal, virtually sealing its fate.
RJD Spokesperson Manoj Jha said they would challenge the order in a higher court after the sentence is known.
Earlier, Prasad arrived at the special CBI court here before delivery of the verdict in the 17-year-old case.
The court had on September 17 set today's date to pass orders in the case.
Among others, IAS officers Mahesh Prasad, Phoolchand Singh, Beck Juleus, K Arumugam, Income Tax officer A C Choudhary, former AHD officials and fodder suppliers were also among the accused.
Prasad had begun arguments on September 9