EC seeks explanation from Koda on poll expenses

Last Updated: Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 22:23

New Delhi: The Election Commission has
sought an explanation from sitting MP and former Jharkhand
Chief Minister Madhu Koda for alleged discrepancies in poll
expenses incurred by him during the 2009 General Elections.

Koda, who represents the Singbhum parliamentary
constituency, was asked by the EC in the show-cause notice
issued to him as to why he should not be disqualified from the
Lok Sabha in the wake of the huge poll expenditure detected
during a IT probe.
The notice was issued by the EC to Koda under the
Representation of Peoples Act after investigations by the
Income Tax department detected huge expenditure by Koda to the
tune of about Rs 7.44 crore for poll related activities as
compared to about Rs 18 lakh which he has declared as actual
expenses, according to sources today.

The statutory ceiling for Parliamentary poll
candidates in Jharkhand is Rs 25 lakh as per the Election
Commission guidelines.

Koda has been asked to reply to the notice and give
details of his expenditure in 20 days.

The notice has been sent under section 10A of the
Representation of Peoples Act which deals with
"disqualification for failure to lodge account of election
expenses".

According to I-T investigations, Koda has allegedly
paid Rs 5 crore to a media group for campaign publicity and
the money has been paid by Binod Sinha, a Koda associate, who
is already in CBI custody for alleged illegal investments and
Hawala transactions along with the former Chief Minister.
Another Rs 28 lakh has been allegedly paid to some
other media groups in the state for poll publicity but Koda
has only pegged his expenditure at Rs 6.90 lakh in this
category.

Koda and his poll managers have also allegedly
purchased 450 motorbikes of a popular automobile company and
few four-wheelers and distributed it to the voters during the
campaign in the runup to the 2009 General Elections, the I-T
probe has claimed.

"Considering it as an election malpractice prima
facie, the EC has issued the show-cause notice," sources said.

Six other candidates, who lost the polls from the same
constituency, have also been issued the notices, they said.

Koda, in his poll affidavit, has shown an expense of
Rs 1,800 for public meetings, campaign material Rs 3,12,904,
campaign through electronic and print media Rs 6,90,430,
vehicles used Rs 4,89,009 and other miscellaneous expenditure
at Rs 3,98,210.

He has also declared receiving around Rs 15 lakh
from an individual from Singhbhum (West) for poll related
expenses.

The I-T department is trying to trace this individual,
sources said.

The EC notice comes as an another blow to the former
CM, as he is already facing seperate probes by the Enforcement
Directorate, Jharkhand Vigilance bureau and the I-T department
for alleged illegal investments in India and abroad with the
help of his associates.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 22:23

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