The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued Red Corner warrants against former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda’s two main business associates, Binod Sinha and Sanjay Choudhary.
Under the warrants, the two have been barred from using their passports, to prevent them from fleeing abroad.
Koda, Sinha, Choudhary and six other people from Jharkhand face charges of illegal money transfer through hawala to foreign countries, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Koda is still at a private hospital in Ranchi where he was admitted after he complained of high blood pressure and stomach ache.
The ED headquarters in Delhi on Thursday sent the Red Corner warrants to all the country’s international airports through the Airports Authority of India, asking airport managers to stop the duo from boarding any flight.
Sources in the ED said the warrants were issued only after authorities found “sufficient evidence” of unlawful transfer of money.
Hawala is an informal money transfer system used to skirt around governments to avoid paying taxes and answering questions about unaccounted money.
A Mumbai firm, the Balaji Group, raided by the Income Tax (I-T) department on the weekend, is alleged to have done transactions worth Rs 1,500 crore on behalf of Koda in the last two years.
Some officials felt that since the ED has asked Koda and the other accused to appear before it between November 9 and 11, they should keep a vigil on the movement of the former chief minister till then, sources said.
But other officials in the I-T and the ED believe that as they have a convincing case against the three, Koda should be arrested as soon as he is discharged from hospital, sources said.
Sinha and some other associates of Koda might appear through their lawyers before the Ranchi-based I-T additional commissioner on Friday.
I-T officials are still carrying out sealing exercises on the properties of Koda and his associates. The searches had begun on October 31.
The Ranchi hospital on Thursday shifted Koda to a general ward from the intensive care unit. Koda will remain under observation till Friday.