Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad, who is convicted in a multi-crore fodder scam, was shifted to Delhi by air ambulance on Saturday evening after his health deteriorated while undergoing treatment at RIMS hospital in Ranchi.
The former Bihar Chief Minister, who has been convicted in three fodder scam cases, enjoyed his time in the bungalow allotted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) Director in Ranchi till recently causing massive controversy. Following the outrage, he was shifted back to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi.
However, as his health continued to deteriorate yet again, Lalu Prasad Yadav has now been shifted to Delhi’s AIIMS for further treatment.
Amidst the air-lifting of Lalu Yadav to Delhi, the left-liberals, who are often fascinated by the ‘secular’ credentials of the former Bihar Chief Minister despite his notorious history of extortion and scamming the public, sympathised for the scam convict Lalu Yadav and demanded his immediate release from the jail even though he has been convicted duly by a court.
The Wire employee Arfa Khanum Sherwani sheds tears for Lalu, demands his release
Continuing to shed tears for Lalu Prasad Yadav, the controversial Arfa Khanum Sherwani, who is an employee at far-left propaganda portal – The Wire, took to Twitter to express her admiration for the scam convict and hailed him as a ‘Dalit-OBC’ messiah. According to Arfa, the accused in the terror and communal riots were sitting in the Parliament, however, ‘Dalit-OBC’ messiah Lalu Yadav was still languishing in jail.
“How is this justice? Where is this justice?” asked Arfa Khanum Sherwani, who herself has a history of peddling false propaganda on social media platforms.
Not only that, she went to the extent of demanding the release of Lalu Yadav, who has been convicted by the court for misappropriation of public money.
Interestingly, the tweet posted by Arfa Khanum Sherwani hailing scam-convict Lalu Yadav as some ‘Dalit-OBC’ messiah was all over social media platforms as many pro-RJD and pro-Congress accounts and suspicious accounts picked up the same content raising doubts about whether the self-proclaimed ‘journalist’ was part of a larger paid trend to voice her opinion in favour of scam convict.
A coordinated campaign to demand release of Lalu Yadav?
Arfa Khanum’s tweet praising Lalu Yadav was posted at 11:20 PM on Saturday. Within minutes after her tweet, a barrage of tweets having the same words were posted on Twitter, clearly indicating a coordinated social media campaign supporting former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Yadav.
Here is a tweet which was posted by the Lalu Yadav supporter exactly a minute after Arfa Khanum posted her tweet:
As per his Twitter profile, Dr Azimushan is Vice President of Hardoi Congress.
Within minutes of Arfa Khanum’s false propaganda, several other troll accounts associated with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and supporters of scam-convict Lalu Prasad Yadav descended on the Twitter to tweet in favour of Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Several social media users tweeted the same exact tweet posted by Arfa Khanum calling for the release of Lalu Prasad Yadav by claiming that the alleged accused in the communal riots and terror charges were sitting in the Parliament, while the ‘messiah’ Lalu Yadav was languishing in the jail.
A social media trend by Lalu Yadav followers having exact words used by Arfa Khanum in her tweets:
While the hashtag was used for paid promotion to garner support for Lalu Prasad Yadav, Arfa Khanum Sherwani’s tweet appeared before the other paid tweets. It is not yet clear whether Arfa Khanum was the one who started the paid trend and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s followers just picked her tweet.
Hence, it cannot be conclusively confirmed or denied that she participated in paid twitter trend for demanding Lalu’s release.
Interestingly, Lalu’s bail plea on December 11, 2020, was deferred by six weeks. The six week period got over on Friday, December 22, 2021.
Lalu Prasad Yadav and the Fodder scam
RJD President and former Chief Minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, was convicted in four fodder scam cases. He was sentenced to jail for 14 years. It has been two decades since the fodder scam was unearthed. The multi-crore scam involved many politicians and bureaucrats siphoning off several crores of rupees on the pretext of purchasing fodder, medicines, and animal husbandry equipment for ‘vast herds of fictitious livestock’ over 20 years.
A special CBI court in 2013 convicted Yadav in the first scam case involving the withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crores from the Chaibasa treasury. In a second case involving the Deoghar treasury of Rs 89 lakhs in December 2017. Later in another case, Lalu and Jagannath Mishra were found guilty of the third fodder scam involving the Chaibasa district treasury of Rs 33.67 crores. In March 2018, a special CBI court in Ranchi pronounced RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav guilty in the fourth fodder scam. Lalu Prasad was sentenced to five years of jail term and a fine of Rs 10 lakhs.
Yadav was imprisoned in Jharkhand jail, but he spent a large portion of his sentence at RIMS allegedly undergoing treatment.