The Republic of Scams (Lalu Prasad)

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The Fodder Scam involved the alleged embezzlement of about Rs 950 crore from the government treasury of Bihar. The alleged theft spanned many years, was engaged in by many Bihar state government administrative and elected officials across multiple administrations (run by opposing political parties), and involved the fabrication of "vast herds of fictitious livestock" for which fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly bought. Although the scandal broke in 1996, the theft had been in progress, and increasing in size, for over two decades.

Besides its magnitude and the duration for which it was said to have existed, the scam was and continues to be covered in Indian media due to the extensive nexus between tenured bureaucrats, elected politicians and businesspeople that it revealed.

As it became evident that Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad would be engulfed in the scandal and its prosecution, demands for him to be removed from the chief ministership had gained momentum. On July 25, 1997, Lalu resigned from his position, but was able to install his wife, Rabri Devi as the new chief minister on the same day.

Due to the multiplicity of cases, Lalu Yadav, Jagannath Mishra (Bihar chief minister in the 1970s and accused of knowing involvement in the scam), and the other accused have been remanded several times in the years since 2000. So far, about 200 people have been punished with jail terms of between 2 and 7 years.

Since it broke into public light, the fodder scam has become symbolic of bureaucratic corruption and the criminalization of politics in India generally, and in Bihar in particular. Lalu Prasad is the only person on whom the Lok Sabha debated for a complete session as the official agenda.