Am Trained Lawyer, Lalu Yadav told Ranchi Judge. He Got Some Advice
The special CBI judge in Jharkhand's capital Ranchi had last month convicted Lalu Yadav and 15 others for embezzlement of over Rs. 85 lakh in government funds back in the 1990s and had scheduled the hearings to decide their jail sentence this week.
Lalu Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Party chief convicted in a fodder scam case, known for his ready wit and earthy attitude is desperate that the court doesn’t sentence him to more than three years. That will allow him to quickly get out of jail on bail, where he confessed it was a little too cold. But as he waited his turn for the court to hear arguments for a lenient view, the former chief minister didn’t lose his sense of humour in the courtroom. Neither did the judge Shiv Pal Singh.
The special CBI judge in Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi had last month convicted Lalu Yadav and 15 others for embezzlement of over Rs. 85 lakh in government funds back in the 1990s and had scheduled the hearings to decide their jail sentence this week.
Today, it turned out that Lalu Yadav would have to wait his turn. Because the judge decided to hear the arguments in an alphabetical order. Lalu Yadav was sixth in this list and his turn would come tomorrow afternoon.
But he still slipped in a prayer or two, pleading to be let off the hook.
The judge responded that he had received quite a few phone calls from “his well-wishers too” and he too didn’t know the quantum of sentence that would be delivered. “But don’t worry, I will follow the law”, he said.
Lalu Yadav, 69, also wanted the judge to give his ruling quickly because “it is very cold here”, a reference to his cell at the Birsa Munda jail.
“Then, play tabla (musical instrument),” the judge responded.
Lalu Yadav told the court in his characteristic style that he too was a trained lawyer, registered to practise in the high court and Supreme Court. “Then why don’t you do a 2-3 month course in jail so that you continue to inspire other prisoners,” the judge shot back, in a lighter vein.
“But I already completed my studies at college,” Lalu Yadav said.
In between, the court, however, made it clear that it had taken serious note of three RJD leaders and the Congress’ Manish Tewari for imputing motives for the guilty verdict he had pronounced. If someone was dissatisfied with the verdict, they should approach the higher courts, not impute motives along caste lines, the court said. The judge made it clear that he had no intention to give anyone relief at this stage, prompting Lalu Yadav to request him to cool down.