Madhu Koda arrested in Jharkhand in assets case (Second Lead)

Ranchi/ New Delhi, Nov 30 ( Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, who is at the centre of a Rs.2,500-crore money laundering scam, was Monday arrested by the state vigilance bureau for allegedly having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, a vigilance official said.

“Madhu Koda has been arrested in the assets case. He was arrested after we procured his arrest warrant from the concerned court,” M.V. Rao, inspector general of police of the vigilance bureau, told Inditop.

Koda was arrested in Chaibasa around 11 a.m. by district Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Jha and is being brought to state capital Ranchi, he said.

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

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 he was busy in election campaigning and would appear before it after the five-phased Jharkhand assembly polls which end Dec 18.

The Jharkhand 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.

According to the FIR, 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 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”.