Patna zoo alleged scam reminds us about Lalu Prasad Yadav's history of corruption

The recent soil purchase case in Bihar is a reminder of the other corruption cases that former chief minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav was involved in

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and former Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav found himself embroiled in yet another controversy. Patna zoo which falls under the charge of Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav who is the deputy chief minister of Bihar has reportedly purchased soil worth Rs 90 Lakh for earth-filling work and construction of a pathway from a mall.

The issue is that Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, his siblings and his mother are shareholders in the company which is constructing the mall from where the soil has been purchased which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is terming as “conflict of interest”. It is being alleged that the zoo has given a contract to the company without a tender. Also, the soil was transported in the zoo after sunset which was not allowed. “The entire episode smacks of misappropriation of public money,” BJP leader Sushil Modi asserted.

The opposition has urged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to immediately expel Tejashwi Prasad from his cabinet. However, Lalu Prasad Yadav has refuted allegations of misusing money.

This particular episode is just a reminder of the two biggest corruption cases that Lalu Prasad Yadav was involved in:

  • Fodder Scam:Lalu Prasad was sentenced to five-year rigorous imprisonment in the Fodder scam case that automatically barred him from contesting elections for 11 years and disqualified him from the parliament. Lalu Prasad along with 44 others was accused of withdrawing Rs.37.70 crore from Chaibasa district treasury which was state government treasury and distributing it to non-existent companies for supply of fodder in the state in the 1990s. Lalu Prasad Yadav was forced to resign as the chief minister of the state after the scam surfaced. However, Lalu claimed that he was innocent.
  • Disproportionate assets case:
    After the CBI launched a probe in the Fodders scam case, the agency registered a 46 lakh disproportionate assets case against Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi in 1998. Even though both of them surrendered, Rabri Devi got a bail because she was the chief minister of the state but Lalu Prasad Yadav was remanded for 11 days. Lalu claimed that his wife had made money by selling dairy products. The CBI failed to prove them guilty and Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi in the year 2006.

Notably, when Lalu Prasad Yadav resigned from the chief ministerial position, he appointed his wife Rabri Devi as the chief minister with the fear of losing out on power. He was also allegedly given all sorts of comfort while in prison and it was believed that he was taking major decisions while his wife took charge as the CM.  For now, BJP has demanded a detailed probe in the soil purchase case and Lalu Prasad Yadav has claimed that allegations were “baseless”.