A special court today deferred the sentencing of Lalu Prasad in a fodder scam case till tomorrow when it is likely to decide whether to pronounce the quantum of punishment over video conference or in court with the judge saying he also received phone calls from the RJD chief’s well-wishers.

The case relates to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar treasury 21 years ago.

Deferring the sentencing for the second day in a row, CBI judge Shiv Pal Singh said he would decide tomorrow whether the sentence would be given over video conference or in the court. To this, Prasad said he was for personal appearance and assured that there would be no slogans raised in the courtroom by his supporters.

The judge also said he had received phone calls from well-wishers of the RJD boss but did not elaborate. With the court room packed, the judge asked the advocates not connected with the fodder scam case to leave.

Fifteen others who were convicted in the scam and were to be sentenced along with Prasad waited in the court, while the RJD chief was whisked away to Birsa Munda jail after this.

The court had yesterday served contempt notices to senior leaders of the RJD and the Congress for criticising in TV channels the December 23 conviction of Prasad in the fodder scam case. It had on December 23 convicted Prasad and 15 others in this fodder scam case and acquitted six others including another former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra. The case pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of the money from the Deoghar treasury between 1991 and 1994.

Lalu convicted

The court had convicted Prasad for offences of cheating with criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act. “Under the sections, Prasad can be sentenced a minimum jail term of one year and maximum of seven years,” his advocate Chittaranjan Prasad had said.

In 1996, the Patna High Court had ordered an inquiry into the fodder scam cases and a charge sheet in the Deogarh treasury case was filed against 38 people on October 27, 1997. Eleven of them died and three turned approvers while two other accused confessed and were convicted in 2006–07, a CBI official said.

On September 30, 2013, Yadav, Jagannath Mishra and several others had been convicted in another case pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from Chaibasa Treasury in the early 1990s. The conviction on December 23 last is the second in the scam.

Yadav faces another three fodder scam cases for illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.97 crore from the Dumka Treasury, Rs 36 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury and Rs 184 crore from the Doranda treasury.