Koda & co even tried to lease uranium mines in South Africa | india | Hindustan Times
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Koda & co even tried to lease uranium mines in South Africa

india Updated: Nov 08, 2009 00:44 IST

Hindustan Times
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Investigators probing the alleged involvement of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda in a Rs 2,200-crore illegal assets case have found that his associates had paid a fee to the South African government for buying uranium and gold mines in end-2008.

Documents seized during the recent nationwide raids by the income-tax department and the Enforcement Directorate reveal that Koda’s associates, including Sanjay Chaudhary, had applied for the mines and paid the fee to the South African government when the ‘expression of interest’ was called for allotting them.

“The money was sent to South Africa from Dubai, where a large amount was stashed away by the gang through the hawala (illegal foreign-exchange transactions) route,” a top IT officer who did not want to be identified told Hindustan Times.

The income-tax department had approached Google and other email service providers to authenticate several messages showing illegal transactions between Koda’s associates and an international hawala cartel. All computers seized during the raids have been sent for forensic examination.

From Monday, the investigators will shift their focus to Mumbai. “All the ill-gotten cash collected by the gang from across Jharkhand was first taken to Mumbai,” the officer said.

“It was then stashed away across the world, including in countries such as Dubai, Thailand, Indonesia and South Africa, or put in different projects in India,” the officer said.

IT officials will also investigate the illegal money transfers made between Koda’s associates and the Mumbai-based Balaji group.

The IT officer said Koda’s associate Binod Sinha was the scam’s “kingpin” as he used the former CM for collecting money from the private parties that wanted mining leases in Chaibasa (famous for iron ore mines) and Dhanbad (known for coal mines), and other contracts in the state.

“Sinha, who ran a small tractor-parts shop before Koda became chief minister, decided who would get the contracts and mining leases -- and not Koda,” said the official. “The order did not come from the top, but went from down to the top.”

Koda, who is recuperating in a Ranchi private hospital, could not be discharged on Saturday as he had a stomach upset.