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Koda's interrogation resumes

The IT department resumed the interrogation of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, who faces charges of laundering Rs 2, 500 crore in ill-gotten wealth.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2009 19:21 IST

The Income Tax (IT) department on Tuesday resumed the interrogation of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, who faces charges of laundering Rs 2, 500 crore in ill-gotten wealth. He has also been asked to come to New Delhi on November 15 for questioning by the Enforcement Directorate.

A six-member team from the IT department resumed the interrogation Tuesday afternoon.

IT officials raided Koda's house on October 31 and he was admitted to a hospital after he complained of stomachache and high blood pressure. The IT officials Tuesday also removed their seal from Koda's house and started search operations there.

Koda, who was discharged from Apollo Hospital Sunday, was given a rest from questioning Monday at his request. Enforcement directorate officials Monday handed over a summons to reach New Delhi on November 15 for interrogation.

Another former chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and member of parliament now Arjun Munda Tuesday said he will cooperate in the investigation.

"I will play a positive role and cooperate," said Munda, when told that the IT officials are scrutinising mines deals since 2004 when he was chief minister. Koda was the mines and geology minister between March 2005 and September 2006 when Munda was the chief minister.

"Things will be cleared if impartial investigation is conducted as the IT and ED are agencies controlled by the central government," Munda added.

Meanwhile, the IT department is focusing on Mumbai, which is considered the gateway of hawala transactions to foreign countries.

"We are focusing on funds invested in India and money sent through hawala to foreign countries," Ujjwal Choudhary, director (Investigations) told IANS.

The department is also minutely investigating Manoj Punamiya and Arvind Vyas, hawala traders as the system of sending money out of the country through illegal channels is called. IT is going through the bank accounts; records of financial transactions and other things and it will shortlist the loopholes, which will be passed on to other agencies for further action.

In New Delhi, the ED is interrogating Vikas Sinha, brother of Koda's close associate Vinod Sinha, who IT officials say is the kingpin in the money laundering scam, including hawala transactions worth Rs.550 crore.

According to sources, Vikas has admitted to sending Rs 40 crore abroad for Koda.

The ED filed a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on October 9 against Koda, three other former ministers as well as Sinha and Sanjay Chaudhary, another associate of Koda.