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Koda behind bars, aide too

Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda was finally arrested on Monday after he repeatedly ignored summons from the state vigilance department, the income tax department and the enforcement directorate. Madan Kumar and B Vijay Murty report.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2009 02:39 IST

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda and his cabinet colleague Kamlesh Kumar Singh were on Monday arrested by the state’s vigilance bureau in a disproportionate assets (DA) case after both defied repeated summons by various agencies probing the alleged the DA case and hawala case.

<b1>Koda was later sent to the Birsa Munda Central jail at Ranchi under 14 days judicial custody after being produced in the Special Vigilance Court here (Ranchi), while Singh was being brought to the state capital for production before the court.

Earlier in the day, the West Singhbhum district police, acting on a directive from the vigilance bureau, picked up Koda from his residence at Chaibasa, about 150 km southwest from the stat capital, while the former CM was to about to leave for campaigning in favour of his wife who is contesting assembly polls from Jagannathpur seat.

Singh, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, was arrested from his party office at Hussainabad in Palamu district, about 280 km northwest from the state capital, while he was preparing to go for election campaigning. Singh is contesting as the NCP candidate from Hussainabad seat.

Koda was driven here in a bullet-proof vehicle and produced before the Special Vigilance Court of Binay Kant Khan in the evening. While Singh is still on the way to Ranchi in a bullet-proof vehicle. Both the former ministers were provided bullet-proof vehicles because of the Maoists’ bandh in the state.

“This is a conspiracy to keep me away from the assembly elections because of my growing popularity in the Kolhan region,” Koda alleged while talking to reporters, after being produced before the court. Asked whether he saw a particular political party behind the development, he said, “It can be.”

To a question he said, he was being implicated in all these cases as part of a political conspiracy. “Both-Koda and Kamlesh- were arrested on the basis of non-bailable warrants (NBWs) issued against them by the special vigilance court in the DA case,” the Vigilance Bureau Director General Neyaz Ahmad told Hindustan Times while confirming the arrest of the two former ministers.

The Vigilance Bureau decided to arrest Koda and Kamlesh as both had deliberately been violating the summons, Neyaz said.

Neyaz also said that since Koda was a Lok Sabha member, the Bureau had duly informed the Lok Sabha Speaker’s secretariat about his arrest.

Earlier, on November 27, the Bureau had issued a fresh summons against Koda asking him to appear before it on December 4 after the former CM violated the bureau earlier summons.

Koda had earlier defied altogether three summonses by the Enforcement Directorate ED) probing the multi-crore hawala case, one by the Income Tax department and one by the Vigilance bureau.

Koda had written to the ED and the Vigilance Bureau that he would appear only after the assembly elections concluded on December 18.

The Bureau had on July 2 instituted an FIR against Koda and his three former cabinet colleagues Kamlesh, Bhanu Pratap Shahi and Bandhu Tirkey for amassing disproportionate assets.

Koda’s Jai Bharat Samanta Party (JBSP) spokesman, Manish Gupta told HT from Chaibasa that a team led by West Singhbhum district police superintendent, Akhilesh Kumar Jha reached Koda’s residence around 10:40 am and arrested him.

Koda’s wife, Geeta Biruli Koda who is fighting assembly polls from Jagannathpur assembly constituency, was addressing a rally in Maluka, around 200 kilometers south west of Ranchi, when her husband was arrested and taken to Ranchi.

On receiving the information, she rushed to Chaibasa and hurriedly convened a meeting of party workers. Taking charge of the party affairs, she appealed them not to take law into their hands while protesting her husband’s arrest.

“My husband and me have complete faith in judiciary,” she said, adding, her husband is innocent and he would come out of the crisis soon.

The frontrunner to clinch the Jagannathpur seat, Geeta Koda said her husband’s arrest would not affect the party’s prospects in the polls.

JBSP has fielded candidates from Chakradharpur, Manoharpur, Chaibasa, Manjhgaon, Jagannathpur and Jugsalai. “We are going to win all six seats,” she said, adding, the candidates were aware that her husband has been was framed by his political rivals.

JBSP Convener Vinod Srivastava said his arrest would help Koda emerge stronger in Jharkhand’s politics.

(with inputs from Bedanti Sharan in Ranchi)