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Koda’s house sealed; Swiss bank connection investigated
Published on 5 Nov. 2009 12:57 AM IST
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Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda’s residence here was sealed Wednesday amid allegations that he amassed illegal assets worth crores. Efforts are also on to find out if he deposited money in Swiss banks, sources say. As his Ranchi home was raided, income tax (IT) officials allegedly seized four rupee counting machines, investment documents, cash, jewellery, a laptop and computer hard disk, sources said. “Koda’s Ranchi house has been sealed. We have concluded the search operation at his residence and seized vital documents and other materials,” an official of the IT department told IANS. Evaluation and verification of the seized material will be carried out. IT and Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials will interrogate Koda, now a Lok Sabha MP, over allegations of a Rs.2,500-crore scam. The ED has asked Apollo Hospital for a report on his health. He was admitted there Tuesday after he complained of a stomachache, vomiting and high blood pressure. The ED served a notice to Koda in hospital. The summons is seen as a move to interrogate Koda about his alleged foreign investments and money sent through hawala. Koda’s condition is stable. “His condition is stable and he will be shifted to the general ward. We have received a letter from the Enforcement Directorate and we will submit a report to the ED regarding his health status,” Apollo Hospital spokesperson Javed Akhtar told IANS. According to sources, the IT department has traced a person who allegedly helped get hundreds of crores of rupees belonging to Koda deposited in a Swiss bank. The name and identity of the person has been withheld in the interest of the investigation. During interrogation, Koda, now an MP, is learnt to have admitted to making unpublicised trips to foreign countries while he was the mines and geology department minister from March 2005 to September 2006, the sources say. At that time, Arjun Munda was the chief minister of Jharkhand. In the past, he too has accused Koda of making foreign visits without informing him. According to the sources, Koda had visited Liberia, Bangkok and Dubai without informing Munda. As per protocol, a minister should inform the chief minister if he makes any foreign visit. The IT department and ED has conducted raids at 70 places in eight Indian cities in connection with corruption allegations against Koda and his associates, Vinod Kumar Sinha and Sanjay Chaudhary. The department has allegedly found illegal transaction worth Rs.2,500 crore, including Rs.550 crore sent to places like Dubai, Thailand and Malaysia through hawala. On Oct 9, the ED lodged a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Koda and three former ministers as well as his associates Sinha and Chaudhary. Koda has been accused of purchasing mines worth $1.7 million (Rs.8.5 crore) in Liberia in the name of his close associates. Sinha, who admits to being a close friend of Koda’s, says the allegations against them are politically motivated.

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