Ranchi, Oct. 3: Except for a plea of innocence, maverick RJD chief Lalu Prasad kept a cool fašade when the CBI court sentenced him to five years of rigorous imprisonment today.
“We all looked at Laluji, seated on a chair in the Birsa jail room with videoconferencing facility, for his reaction. We couldn’t gauge it,” said a senior jail official.
“A little while later, he exchanged pleasantries with those present,” the official, privy to the developments inside jail, added.
Birsa jail’s medical team, on alert since morning, stayed on till a couple of hours after the judgment.
“Doctors of the jail hospital were asked to stay till the quantum of punishment was announced,” the official added.
In the morning, the 66-year-old Lalu had to get his blood and other basic tests done. Blood samples collected this morning at the instructions of a jail doctor were sent to RIMS central lab.
“He is fine. His kidney profile as well as haemoglobin, urea, creatinine, blood glucose levels were well within control,” said a doctor.
Around 3pm, soon after the pronouncement of the sentence, supporters, many in red-beacon cars, started arriving. Many waved flags and chanted “Lalu Prasad zindabad, Lalu zindabad.”
Bihar’s Marhaura MLA from the RJD Jitendra Kumar Rai was the first to come calling at 3.30pm. He stayed for some 20 minutes. He was followed by Lalu’s lawyer Chitranjan Sinha.
“He is not shattered. It is a ploy and he will come out of it soon,” he said.
Lok Jan Shakti party supremo and old friend Ram Vilas Paswan also visited Lalu. Paswan — who has pledged to fight the NDA with Lalu — came with son Chirag and other supporters at 4pm.
He was followed by Lalu’s son Tejaswi, Godda MLA Sanjay Prasad Yadav and state tourism minister Suresh Paswan.
It is almost certain that Lalu will have to spend Durga Puja inside jail. He will have to wait for a billa number, said acting jail superintendent Virendra Kumar.
Jail officials are mulling a teaching job inside bars for the Raja, though nothing is final yet.