Coal scam: Life turns full circle for ex-Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda
Courted once by the high and mighty, Madhu Koda mostly has a few common villagers to keep company now. Ordered last week by a CBI court to stand trial for corruption in the coal scam case, life has turned full circle for the ex-Jharkhand chief minister.ranchi Updated: Jul 17, 2015 02:18 IST
Courted once by the high and mighty, Madhu Koda mostly has a few common villagers to keep company now. Ordered last week by a CBI court to stand trial for corruption in the coal scam case, life has turned full circle for the ex-Jharkhand chief minister.
Having risen from a lowly labourer at SAIL’s iron ore mine to become the mineral-rich state’s mines minister and chief minister some years ago, Koda finds himself both shorn of clout and powerful friends. For someone accused of money-laundering and amassing huge wealth, he leads a rather modest life in his ancestral village Patahatu, sipping tea with former associates and reminiscing about the lost glory days. His home has all modern facilities, but in no way matches the grandeur of mansions owned by other successful politicians.
Koda enjoys some remnants of power: as an ex-chief minister, he travels in a Tata Safari tailed by a posse of policemen in a Gypsy during his weekly visits to Ranchi to meet his only daughter studying in a public school. He is also invited to attend public functions, big and small, in his home district of Singhbhum.
But the taint of corruption for which he spent three years in jail as an under trail has severely dented his stature. Once beaten up brutally by other inmates at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail, his alleged links to a staggering scam totalling over Rs 3,000 crores dealt a body blow to his political fortunes. He lost a parliamentary election and a subsequent bid to enter the state assembly by winning the Majhgaon seat.
As the odds, both legal and political stack up against him, Koda continues to talk tough. “We will go to the appellate court to challenge the charges. I am innocent and convinced that justice would accrue to me,” he told HT. A small band of loyal friends also vouch for his honesty. “We are sure he will come out clean of all the charges,” says Champak Rathore, his friend from his old days of penury.
But the circle of his friends and followers has shrunk considerably. Crowds still throng his home but they mostly visit to meet Koda’s legislator wife, Geeta. Once feared and respected, local officials also reportedly seldom take his recommendations and requests seriously.
“You will only find those people with him these days whom he obliged with his black money when he was CM," said a local BJP leader derisively.
A majority of those associated closely with him during his stint as chief minister are either behind bars or absconding. Among everything else, Koda and his friends are accused of investing their ill-gotten wealth in distant countries such as Indonesia, UAE and Liberia.
Koda has been given a clean chit in two cases -- one registered by the CBI and the other by the state vigilance. Yet, redemption for Koda is nowhere in sight with a slew of corruption cases still pending.
Invited to attend a college function recently, his presence triggered a fresh round of gossip among the audience. Unconfirmed reports that Koda had installed currency counting machines at home and paid unemployed youngsters to count his daily collection during his days as the chief minister refuse to die down. Despite being pushed in political oblivion, Koda still gets tongues wagging.