The former Jharkhand Chief Minister, Madhu Koda, was arrested on Monday from his residence in Chaibasa and remanded to 14 days judicial custody by the Special Vigilance Judge here in connection with a disproportionate assets case being investigated by the State Vigilance Bureau.
Kamlesh Singh, who was a Minister in the Koda Cabinet, was also arrested from his residence in Palamu district in connection with the same case.
The vigilance department got the arrest warrants in the morning despite the fact that it had summoned Mr. Koda to present himself before it on December 4. Mr. Koda was apparently taken by surprise.
The Chaibasa SP arrived at his residence and took him away in his car telling him that he wanted to have a word with him. There were a few visitors with Mr. Koda and they were discussing the election strategy for his wife and about half a dozen candidates he had fielded in the Kolhan region.
The SP fulfilled the formalities of executing the arrest warrants later and then arranged for Mr. Koda’s transfer here for production before the Special Vigilance Judge. While remanding Mr. Koda to judicial custody, the Judge directed that he be admitted to the jail hospital and given all the necessary medical care.
The Palamu SP, however, was busy with naxalite related incidents and arrested Mr. Singh only late in the afternoon.
The vigilance department lodged the disproportionate assets case (no. 9/2009) against Mr. Koda on July 2 on the orders of the Special Vigilance Court, based on a complaint lodged by Rajesh Sharma.
The State Vigilance Bureau is, however, yet to specify the assets it seized or unearthed in excess of Mr. Koda’s known sources of income. He is also being investigated by the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of money laundering through hawala transactions and illegal investments in foreign countries.
Mr. Koda, who has defied summons from the ED, said he would appear before it after the Assembly elections. Vigilance DG Neyaz Ahmed and IG M.V.Rao admitted that summons were served on Mr. Koda for appearance on December 4 after he failed to honour earlier summons for an appearance on Friday last stating that he was busy with election campaign.
Mr. Ahmed denied that the department acted in haste or under political pressure. The arrest warrant was obtained on the basis of the requirements of the investigation that was under way. Any decision to take Mr. Koda on remand for interrogation would be taken later. The department did not move any petition in this regard on Monday.
On the likelihood of the IT Department and the ED taking him on remand in connection with the cases they were pursuing against him, the Vigilance DG said that it was their prerogative.
The Vigilance had, however, received information from these two agencies and was expecting more in due course. These evidences would be incorporated in the charge sheet the department intended to file against Mr. Koda.