A special CBI court on Wednesday deferred the sentencing till Thursday of jailed former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad and 15 others in a fodder scam case.The court of Justice Shivapal Singh deferred the sentencing after it was informed about the death of two lawyers by the District Bar Council.The quantum of punishment for Lalu Prasad and others was to be announced in the second half on Wednesday. However, the lawyers would not attend the court after paying condolences to the dead, the RJD chief's lawyer told reporters.Lalu Prasad was brought to the Central Bureau of Investigation court from Birsa Munda Central Jail here earlier. He was then taken back to the jail.The CBI court had on December 23 convicted Lalu Prasad and 15 others in the case relating to the multi-million-rupee scam.Lalu Prasad's lawyer told reporters that they would press for minimum punishment.
According to them, the RJD chief could be awarded three to seven years in prison. If he gets three years' punishment, he would get bail soon after sentencing.The CBI court had acquitted another former Bihar Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and five others in the case, relating to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 84.5 lakh from the Deoghar District Treasury between 1990 and 1994.Lalu Prasad was the Chief Minister of then undivided Bihar from 1990 to 1997.The trial was completed on December 13 in the CBI court and 10 days later he was convicted.There were 34 accused, out of which 11 died during the trial while one turned CBI approver and admitted to the crime.The 16 convicted include three former IAS officers: Phoolchand Mandal, Beck Julius and Mahesh Prasad.Lalu Prasad is also facing trial in three more cases relating to the fodder scam, known as "Chara Ghotala".