Indian government ally jailed 5 years for long-running scam

NEW DELHI, Oct 3 (Reuters) - An Indian court sentenced a powerful ally of the ruling Congress party to five years in jail on Thursday for siphoning off state funds, underlining that public disgust with corruption is finally catching up with the nation's politicians.

Arvind Singh, joint secretary of the bar association in the eastern city of Ranchi who was in the court, told Reuters that Lalu Prasad Yadav would serve five years of "rigorous" imprisonment and was fined 2.5 million rupees ($40,000).

The sentence means that Yadav will lose his seat in the lower house of parliament, making him the first lawmaker to be hit by a Supreme Court ruling that convicts may not sit in legislatures even during an appeal.

Yadav, a former railways minister, was convicted along with dozens of others earlier this week for his part in a 1990s animal fodder racket in the poverty-plagued eastern state of Bihar in which millions of dollars went missing.