Lalu Prasad convicted for embezzlement

New Delhi

A powerful Indian politician was sentenced on Saturday to 14 years in prison for embezzling 37 million Indian rupees ($570,000) from a state government’s treasury while he was the state’s top elected official.
Lalu Prasad Yadav was convicted of embezzling the money to buy fictitious medicines and cattle fodder while he was chief minister of Bihar state from 1990 to 1997.
Eighteen former Bihar state officials, contractors and suppliers were sentenced in the case to jail terms ranging from 3.5 to five years.
Yadav, who already has been convicted three times in related cases, was also fined INR 6m ($92,307).
Yadav, 69, who served as India’s railways minister from 2004 to 2009, is barred from contesting elections.
Earlier this month, he was shifted to a hospital from a prison after he complained of chest pains in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state.
Corruption is endemic in Indian politics. Judges are now expediting trials of lawmakers accused of crimes including murder, fraud and extortion following a Supreme Court order to reach verdicts within one year in such cases.—AP

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