Ranchi: Special CBI judge Shivapal Singh on Thursday put off the sentencing of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad, who claimed he had done no wrong and that he found it "very cold" in prison.
According to a lawyer who was present in the courtroom, Lalu Yadav told the judge: "Sir, jail me thanda bahut lagta hai. (It is very cold in the prison.)"
The RJD leader added there were other problems too. "I am not allowed to meet people."
The judge responded: "That's why you are called to the court so that you can meet people. If you feel cold, then play harmonia or tabla to beat the cold."
When Lalu Prasad claimed innocence in the scandal he is accused of, the judge remarked: "You were Chief Minister and in charge of the Finance department. You did not act on time. Please go. Today is not your (day) of sentencing."
The banter went on. Lalu Prasad said: "Sir, I am also a lawyer." The Judge: "Then take a degree in jail."
Lalu Prasad: "Sir, everything gets ok if one has a cool mind." The judge: "I do not listen to anyone. Your well wishers' calls are coming from far off places."
The judge offered that video-conferencing can take place if the RJD leader had a problem coming to the court. Lalu Prasad: " No Sir, I have no problem, I will come to court."
Lalu Prasad's sentencing is expected on Friday.
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on December 23 convicted the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and 15 others in a case relating to the multi-million-rupee fodder scam.
According to lawyers, Lalu Prasad can be awarded three to seven years' punishment. If he gets three years' term, he would get bail soon after sentencing.
Lalu Prasad is now lodged at the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi.