Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, allegedly at the centre of a Rs. 2,500-crore money laundering scam, may be arrested and put through a narco test, sources in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) indicated on Friday.
“Koda and his associates are buying time to delay the investigation. After formally arresting him, the ED can move court seeking his narco test. There is another option of a lie detector machine. Before formal arrest, the IT could use a lie detector machine to interrogate Koda,” an informed source told IANS.
Mr. Koda is a Lok Sabha MP from Singhbhum.
“We will interrogate Koda,” said Ujjwal Choudhary, Director, Income Tax (IT), investigations. When asked about a possible narco test, he said: “The ED will take action.”
Anjani Kumar, Director General of IT, investigation, had said four days ago Mr. Koda was not cooperating fully in the investigation.
When IT and ED officials intensified their interrogation, Mr. Koda got admitted to a hospital complaining of a stomach ache and high blood pressure. He was, however, shifted to the general ward from the ICU on Thursday.
According to doctors, his condition is stable and he could be discharged soon. ED officials have asked the hospital to keep them informed about Mr. Koda’s health and not discharge him without their knowledge. ED officials are keeping a close check on the movement of people around Mr. Koda.
The two key associates of Mr. Koda, Binod Sinha and Sanjay Chaudhary, did not appear before IT officials on Friday. The IT department on Nov. 2 had asked six people, including the two, to appear before them for interrogation. (According to PTI Mr. Binod Sinha’s brother Vikas Sinha was arrested by the ED on Friday for his alleged role in hawala transactions and illegal investments.)
ED has also initiated the process to arrest Mr. Binod Sinha and Mr. Chaudhary. They could also face a narco test if arrested.
The ED has allegedly unravelled illegal transactions worth Rs 2,500 crore, including Rs 550 crore sent to places like Dubai, Thailand, Liberia and Malaysia, through hawala or money laundering channels.
On Wednesday, Income Tax officials sealed Mr. Koda’s residence partly. They seized four rupee counting machines, investment documents, cash, jewellery, a laptop and computer hard disk, sources said.
The Income Tax department and ED have conducted raids at 70 places in eight cities in connection with corruption allegations.
On October 9, the ED lodged a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Mr. Koda and three former ministers Kamlesh Singh, Bhanu Pratap Shahi and Bandhu Tirkey as well as his associates Mr. Binod Sinha and Mr. Chaudhary.