ED’s wait continues, Koda to stay in hospital

Last Updated: Saturday, November 7, 2009 - 20:00

Zeenews Bureau

Ranchi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will have to wait for at least one more day to arrest and question former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda in the Rs 2,500 crore money laundering scam.

Ranchi’s Apollo Hospital, where Koda is admitted, on Saturday said after reviewing the former Jharkhand CM’s condition that he would not be discharged today as he had a stomach upset.

"The doctors will take a decision tomorrow or the day after about his discharge," the hospital’s PRO said.

Koda was on Thursday shifted from the ICU to the general ward of the Apollo Hospital.
Koda, now an independent MP, was admitted to the hospital after he complained of high blood pressure, nausea and a stomach ache.

On Friday, the ED made its first arrest in the scam and arrested the brother of former CM’s close associate.

"We have arrested Vikas Sinha," Prabha Kant, deputy director, ED, told reporters in Ranchi. Vikas Sinha is the brother of Vinod Sinha, who according to income tax (I-T) officials is the kingpin of the scam and a good friend of Lok Sabha MP Koda.

Koda is trying to buy time, investigators said. He will in all likelihood be put through a narco test once he is formally arrested, sources in the ED said.

"Koda and his associates are buying time to delay the investigation. After formally arresting him, the ED can move court seeking his narco test. There is another option of a lie detector machine. Before formal arrest, the I-T could use a lie detector machine to interrogate Koda," an informed source said.

The I-T department had raided Vikas Sinha`s house in Jamshedpur and he was brought to Ranchi and arrested by the ED. According to top officials, the ED will seek court permission to also conduct a narco test on Vikas Sinha.

So far the ED has also served notices on three former ministers in the Koda cabinet, summoning them to New Delhi for interrogation from November 10 to 12 with details of their assets and investments. These are Kamlesh Singh, Bhanu Pratap Shahi and Bandhu Tirkey.

As the magnitude of the multi-crore scam gradually unravels, investigators believe that it was a well-oiled racket that helped Koda and his key associates funnel money abroad.

"There could be more political figures and officials who could be ensnared in this investigation. This will take time as Koda`s mining interests have spread far and wide," a key investigator said.

TV reports said quoting sources that a serving Union Cabinet minister and other bureaucrats’ names figure in Koda`s personal dairy which is in possession of the investigators.

The former CM’s personal secretary Harendra Singh is also in the I-T department`s custody. He is said to have surrendered and was brought to the Ranchi I-T office under heavy security.

More people are likely to be arrested.

In a related development, BJP leader Manohar Parrikar said Koda could have mining interests to the tune of Rs 400 crore in Goa.

Parrikar, who is leader of opposition in the Goa Assembly, noted that Koda would visit Goa at least once every month allegedly to pursue his mining interests.

"What I am saying is that Madhu Koda`s roots are in Goa. The more his case is probed by the Enforcement Directorate, more things will come out," Parrikar said, while commenting on Koda`s mining interests abroad, which were being investigated.

On October 9, the ED had lodged a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Koda, the three former ministers as well as his associates Vinod Sinha and Chaudhary.

The ED has found alleged illegal transactions worth Rs 2,500 crore, including Rs 550 crore sent to places like Dubai, Thailand, Liberia and Malaysia, through hawala, or money laundering channels

Koda innocent, says his wife

Geeta Koda, wife of former Jharkhand
Chief Minister Madhu Koda who is facing charges of amassing
over Rs 2,000 crore through hawala and illegal investment,
today claimed he is innocent.

"I know Koda is totally innocent and he has no
involvement in the alleged scam. Nothing has been recovered
from our house and I have full faith on judiciary," Geeta told
a local channel when asked about IT raids at their house last
week.

When asked about the names of certain leaders doing the
rounds in connection with the alleged scam, she shot back, "He
is a political figure and he has contacts with so many
politicians, so how can I comment on this?"

Geeta said the IT officials had not exerted any pressure
on the couple during the raids. "When we are innocent then why
would they do something like that."

She also said she is not aware of reports of IT officials
seizing a diary during the searches.

When asked about her future course of action, she said,
"I cannot say now what I will do. For the time being, let the
investigation go on...I have full faith in them and whatever
they are doing, let them go ahead with it, we will decide
after that what is to be done."

38-year-old Koda faces charges of having amassed over Rs
2,000 crore through hawala and illegal investments. After
week-long raids on 70 places in nine cities across the country
including Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, IT officials had on
Wednesday sealed a room and almirahs at Koda`s residence in
Ranchi.

(With IANS inputs)



First Published: Saturday, November 7, 2009 - 20:00

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