Rs 2000 Crore Wealth Found With Jharkhand Leader And His Cronies

The Income Tax department has so far detected Rs 2000 crore worth properties with former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and his cronies in different parts of India.  The searches which began on Friday was
rs 2000 crore wealth found with jharkhand leader...
PTI November 02, 2009 15:47 IST

The Income Tax department has so far detected Rs 2000 crore worth properties with former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda and his cronies in different parts of India.
The searches which began on Friday was still continuing on Sunday at nearly 70  premises belonging to Koda and his family and cronies. Enforcement Directorate officials are assisting Income Tax officials in the searches, officials said.
Income Tax department conducted country-wide searches on nearly 70 properties  allegedly owned by  Madhu Koda and his family members and  claimed to have found evidence of "unaccounted" money transactions during his tenure.

The searches were carried out after the Enforcement Directorate registered a case against 38-year-old Koda for alleged money laundering and diversion of state funds.

"It appears there were unaccounted money  transactions when Koda was mines minister during the Arjun Munda government and subsequently during (his) chief ministership," IT Director of Investigation Ujjwal Choudhary told reporters in Ranchi after raids on the premises of Koda and his alleged associates Sanjay Choudhary and Binod Sinha.

The Enforcement Directorate had registered the case on October 9 against Koda and three of his ministerial colleagues on charges of making huge illegal investments abroad, including purchase of mines as far as in Liberia. Koda was chief minister between February 2006 and August 2008.

The searches were being conducted by at least 70 teams comprising 400 IT sleuths and assisted by ED men on the properties located in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Lucknow, Nasik, Ranchi, Chaibasa and Jamshedpur, officials said.

The raids were launched on the basis of the IT's own intelligence inputs, Choudhary said.

Koda, who may also face arrest, is the first former chief minister and high-profile politician to have been booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Currently an independent member of the Lok Sabha, Koda held the mines portfolio twice in two governments led by Munda between 2003 and 2006. He shot into fame after he clinched a political coup with Congress support by becoming chief minister of the state in 2006 as an independent MLA.

The ED had filed an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), which is equivalent to an FIR, before the Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Ranchi against Koda and three of his cabinet colleagues -- Kamlesh Singh, Bhanu Pratap Shahi and Bhandu Tirkey -- besides five other persons.

According to the ECIR, Koda is alleged to have purchased mines in Liberia worth USD 17 lakh (Rs 8.5 crore) besides making other 'benami' purchases in the name of his close confidant Binod Sinha, once a tractor mechanic.

As per the ECIR, the property in the name of Sinha runs into several hundred crores of rupees.

Koda and eight others have been accused of amassing property worth hundreds of crores of rupees including those in places like UAE, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Liberia.

The ED swung into action after Jharkhand vigilance department lodged a complaint and searched the homes of Koda, and Hari Narayan Rai and Enos Ekka, both former ministers.

ED officials claimed they had come across documents suggesting that the former ministers had amassed huge wealth  including mines, real estate firms and property also in Hong Kong.

The Income Tax department will soon summon Madhu Koda for "detailed questioning" on alleged hawala transactions and investments made by him and his associates.

The department carried out country-wide searches  and seized voluminous documents, computer peripherals and other records pertaining to bank details and investments.

The department will issue notices to Koda and others for "detailed questioning" after the completion of scrutiny of the seized material, official sources said.

Some questioning at the time of searches was done by tax officials but they were largely cursory. A detailed questioning is required, as the documents taken into custody are huge, they said.

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