Koda, ex-minister of Jharkhand arrested in assets case (Third Lead)

Ranchi/New Delhi, Nov 30 (Inditop.com) Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, who is at the centre of a Rs.2,500-crore money laundering scam, and a former state minister were arrested Monday by the vigilance bureau for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, an official said.

“Madhu Koda and Kamlesh Singh have been arrested in the assets case. They were arrested after we procured their arrest warrant from the concerned court,” M.V. Rao, inspector general of police of the vigilance bureau, told Inditop.

“We will seek their remand to carry forward the investigation,” he said after the two were presented before a vigilance court.

Koda was arrested from his house in Chaibasa around 11 a.m. by district Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Jha. He was brought to Ranchi under heavy security arrangements, Rao said.

“We had to arrest Koda at this stage to assist the investigation,” he said.

Kamlesh Singh, who is also nominee of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the state assembly polls, was arrested from Hussainabad in Palamu district Monday afternoon.

The vigilance department had asked Koda to appear before it for questioning Nov 27, but he failed to do so.

According to sources, Koda told the vigilance bureau that he was busy in election campaigning and would appear before it after the five-phased assembly polls ends Dec 18.

The vigilance department had lodged a first information report (FIR) against Koda and his three former cabinet colleagues – Bandhu Tirkey, Bhanu Pratap Sahi and Kamlesh Singh.

Asked about the two other former ministers Sahi and Tirkey, Rao said: “We are investigation the case and in the interest of investigation we will take necessary steps.”

Singh had also failed to appear before vigilance for interrogation in the assets case. He has to file nomination paper for the state poll on Tuesday.

According to the FIR by the vigilance department, Koda and his colleagues are charged with amassing assets beyond their known incomes and misusing their positions to earn money.

Their houses were also raided by the vigilance department in September. In the raids, the department had seized documents relating to huge investments, cash and incriminating documents related to land purchase.

Koda is alleged to have laundered thousands of crores of rupees during his stint as the chief minister between 2006 and 2008.

Since Oct 31, the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have conducted raids at 69 places in eight Indian cities, including at Koda’s home. Koda, however, insists the raids were politically motivated.

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that the United Progressive Alliance government had delayed Koda’s arrest. The allegation was promptly refuted by the government.

Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said it is up to the investigating agency to decide on the time of arrest.

“The investigative agencies decide when and how is one to be arrested,” Moily said. “I don’t think anybody will interfere. Truth should come out,” he added.

BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Congress had supported the Koda government in 2006-2008 and demanded “proper follow up and honest investigation”.