On fodder case judgment day, Lalu's family seeks divine blessings

Patna, Dec 23 (IANS) Even as a verdict in a fodder scam case by a Ranchi court is set to be pronounced on Saturday afternoon, prime accused RJD chief Lalu Prasad's entire family is busy seeking divine intervention to secure "justice" for him.

Lalu Prasad's wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, known for her religious leanings, has organised a special 'puja' at her official residence -- 10, Circular Road -- in high security zone here.

Lalu's Prasad's elder son Tej Pratap, a former Health Minister, visited a temple early Saturday morning to pray for his father.

"Tej Pratap also offered prayers at his house also," the RJD leader said.

Lalu's daughters, including Misa Bharti who is an RJD Rajya Sabha MP, are also offering prayers and participating in religious rituals.

"A special 'puja' incorporating chants of vedic 'mantras' is on since Saturday morning at Rabri Devi's residence. Rabri Devi and other family members have performed several religious rituals with help of priests," a Rashtriya Janata Dal leader close to the family said.

Security has since been tightened around the residence of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi here in view of the impending court judgment.

Lalu Prasad, former Union Railway Minister and Bihar Chief Minister, has gone to Jharkhand capital Ranchi where a special CBI court will pronounce at 3 p.m. on Saturday its verdict in a fodder scam case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 84.5 lakh from Deoghar treasury between 1991 and 1994.

The former Union Minister told the media here on Friday evening before leaving for Ranchi along with younger son Tejashwi Yadav, who is Leader of Opposition in Bihar assembly, that he would get a "clean chit" like those in the 2G spectrum and Adarsh housing society cases.

"We trust and respect the judiciary. We will not let the Bharatiya Janata Party's conspiracies work," the RJD leader said.

The hearing in the fodder scam case was completed on December 13 by the Ranchi court. Special CBI Judge Shivapal Singh then fixed December 23 for pronouncing judgment and asked all accused to remain present in the courtroom.

In all, of the 34 accused, 11 died during the trial, while one turned CBI approver.

Lalu Prasad and another former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra have been convicted in an fodder scam case earlier and are out on bail.

The trial in two other cases is going on in the special CBI court here.

The trial in three cases against Lalu Prasad and Mishra gained momentum in May after the Supreme Court directed the special court to complete the trial within nine months.



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