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The BBC's Satish Jacob
"Judges not turning up in court on the appointed day is a common problem for ordinary Indians"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 15:41 GMT
Bihar leader behind bars
Laloo Yadav
Mr Yadav (centre) faces charges of bribery and corruption
By Satish Jacob in Delhi

One of India's most controversial political leaders, Laloo Prasad Yadav, has been arrested and sent to jail for a fortnight.

Mr Yadav is a former chief minister of the northern Indian state of Bihar.

Mr Yadav, who is facing criminal charges of bribery and corruption, has been sent to jail because he failed to renew his bail in time.

When Mr Yadav appeared in court to renew his bail there was no judge present to hear his application.

The special police court - which is trying the former chief minister - promptly sent him to jail.

But his lawyers say that he could be out of jail on Wednesday because the Bihar High Court has agreed to hear his bail application.

'Fodder scam'

Mr Yadav has been in and out of jail over the past four years.

His problems began in 1996 when the police unearthed a colossal scandal in which he and the state's leading bureaucrats and politicians were alleged to have siphoned off a huge amount of money that was meant to be spent on animal husbandry.

The case, which was dubbed the fodder scam, shocked the country, chiefly because Laloo Prasad Yadav had come to be known as a champion of social justice.

The scam forced him to resign as chief minister but he managed to make his wife, Rabri Devi, his successor.

Ms Devi is illiterate and knows little about politics - she appears to be a mere figurehead and it is generally believed that Mr Yadav runs the state by remote control.

Mr Yadav is being tried both for corruption and for accumulating wealth by unfair means.

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See also:

10 May 00 | South Asia
Bail for Bihar politician
04 Apr 00 | South Asia
Analysis: India's criminal politicians
26 Feb 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Bihar's pivotal politician
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