The two kingpins of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda’s shady business empire, Binod Sinha and Sanjay Choudhary were small shop owners in Chaibasa and Jamshedpur towns in the southern part of the state till 2002.
They are now managing directors, directors or partners in 16 holding companies, two of which are based in Dubai, Enforcement Directorate officials said.
Both men have invested huge amounts in several mines, steel projects and power projects in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Dubai and Singapore.
Estimated to be worth billions of rupees, they own land, flats and other properties in many cities in India.
Residents of Chaibasa told HT that till the late 1990s Sinha used to help his father Akhilesh Sinha run a small shop selling of pump set accessories.
Similarly, Choudhary used to help his father Jai Narayan Choudhary run a small shop selling tobacco and tobacco products in Jamshedpur.
Before coming into contact with Koda, Sinha had already committed forgery in the supply of some pump sets to farmers under a government scheme.
Sinha and Choudhary came into contact with Koda in 2001 some time before the politician became Minister of State for Rural Engineering Organisations in the Babulal Marandi government. Soon after, they began getting government contracts to build village roads and small bridges.
From this they graduated to playing the role of middlemen in the awarding of mine leases and transfer of bureaucrats in 2003 when Koda took charge as Mines Minister. Koda retained the ministry after becoming chief minister in September 2006.
When Sinha’s shady deals were raised in the Jharkhand assembly by the Opposition in 2007, Koda had described him as a “simple friend”.
Allegations about Sinha’s shady deals were first highlighted by a Ranchi-based newspaper. The news reports led to adjournment of state assembly for four consecutive days in 2007.
While Sinha hid from the public gaze and the media, Koda, then chief minister, was compelled by the Opposition to issue a clarification on the Assembly floor. Koda only said: “Binod Sinha is a businessman from Chaibasa and I know him well. There is no provision in law that prevents a man who knows the CM from doing his own business.”
Koda also brushed aside the Opposition’s demands for an inquiry into Sinha’s wealth and his role in the awarding of mining contracts.