A court in Delhi has attached former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda's properties worth Rs 144 crore, which includes 25 flats and a shopping mall, in connection with the disproportionate assets case against his alleged associates.
The order for attachment of the flats, in posh localities of Pune and Mumbai, and a shopping mall in Jamshedpur was issued by a special money-laundering court. It found that the properties were involved in the offence of laundering under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), in a case probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Some of the frozen assets also belong to businessman Anil Adinath Bastawade, who was earlier this year arrested from Indonesia by the agency.
K Raamamoorthy, chairman of the adjudicating authority of PMLA, said in his order."The above materials (prosecution evidence) and the submissions made me feel convinced that prima facie all the properties provisionally attached are involved in money-laundering and therefore liable for attachment. I, therefore, order for confirmation of the provisional attachment order in question." Under PMLA, a retired judge of a high court is the chairman of the authority.
The ED's Lucknow zonal office had issued attachment orders on these assets in February this year and with this order it will now be able to issue prohibitory orders on them.
The attached assets also include properties of Manoj B Punamiya, an associate of Koda and an accused in the case, with 10 flats in a single apartment complex in Mumbai's Matunga suburb.
Other flats of Punamiya that have been seized are located in Malad, Goregaon, Nariman Point and one Emerald Mall at Jamshedpur in Jharkhand worth R14.20 crore.
Bastawade's properties and flats are located in various upmarket locations in Pune such as Boat Club Road, Baner, Model Colony, Senapati Bapat Road, Aundh and a flat in Bangalore's Hobli area.
The court, which is an appeal mechanism for forfeiture orders issued by the ED, observed that the fortunes of Koda's aides rose with his "political rise".
"Before the financial year 2006-07, Manoj Punamiya, Arvind Vyas and Lalit Jain (other associates) were actually men of limited means and their meteoric rise coincided with the political rise of Madhu Koda," the court said in its order.
The case was unearthed by multiple agencies in 2009 and the income-tax department and ED had claimed to have found a R25,000-crore scam of money-laundering and illegal investments following countrywide raids on 70 premises on October 31 the same year.
ED sources had said the amount of the scam, which had allegedly taken place during Koda's regime between 2006 and 2008, had gone up to R3,400 crore in the course of investigations and the amount excluded Bastawade's assets, who was an absconder for a long time.