Koda minted money through mine licences
As many as 48 mining files were cleared in an hour by the mining department of Jharkhand on Madhu Koda’s watch as chief minister in 2008, said income tax sources close to the ongoing investigations, reports Manish Tiwari.india Updated: Nov 09, 2009 11:07 IST
As many as 48 mining files were cleared in just an hour by the mining department of Jharkhand on Madhu Koda’s watch as chief minister in 2008, said income tax sources close to the ongoing investigations.
Not an impossible task if all other processes were complete. Some were completely fresh and some were complicated cases for renewal.
The mines department had on January 21, 2008 issued notices inviting applications to a hearing on February 22. But the administration couldn’t wait. All 48 files were cleared instead on February 8.
Income tax and enforcement directorate investigators accuse Koda of amassing wealth in the region of Rs 4,000 crore (fifth of Jharkhand’s budget) by, among other things, selling mining licenses in mineral-rich Jharkhand during his tenures as mines minister and chief minister.
Koda, who was on Sunday discharged from hospital where he was being treated for a stomach complaint since November 3, was questioned for the first time since the allegations surfaced.
“I am innocent. I will come out clean,” he told HT.
Koda, however, admitted knowing Binod Sinha, the alleged kingpin of the hawala transactions.
“I know Binod because he is from my constituency,” he said. “But there is no business partnership with him.”
“We’re scrutinizing all mining deals during his (Koda’s) tenure,” said Additional Director (Investigations) Ajit Kumar Srivastava who is supervising the probe in Ranchi.
Koda was mines minister from February 2005 to September 2006 and CM from September 2006 to August 2008.
But the orders on mining leases/rights did come from him. “All decisions to allot mining lease or contracts were taken by his associate, Binod Sinha,” said an income tax officer, adding that Sinha would then tell the chief minister the files to be signed.
Koda and his aides are also alleged to have used the hawala (illegal foreign currency network) to invest abroad. The enforcement directorate is looking into it and it is scheduled to question the former chief minister on November 11.
Inputs from Madan Kumar, Ranchi