Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda was on Monday arrested from West Singhbhum district by the Vigilance Bureau in a disproportionate assets case, weeks after defying repeated summons by various agencies probing the alleged hawala scam.
"He has been arrested and is being brought to Ranchi," Inspector General of Police (Vigilance), M V Rao, told PTI. "We have reached a stage when his arrest was necessary. We had taken the arrest warrant from the competent court," he added.
The police picked up 38-year-old Koda from his Dumri residence just before he was to address an election meeting at Sareikela, official sources said.
The arrest followed the independent MP's defiance of the Vigilance Bureau's summons to present himself before it on November 27, forcing it to issue fresh summons on December 4 in the disproportionate assets case.
Koda defied three summons by the Enforcement Directorate, one by the Income Tax department and one by the Vigilance bureau. He had claimed that he was campaigning for the assembly elections in Jharkhand.
The Vigilance Bureau is investigating Koda's disproportionate assets case and the ED and IT department are looking into the hawala transactions and illegal investments allegedly involving him and his aides.
Koda had written to the ED that he could not appear before them as he did not have some documents which required to be placed and that he was busy in electioneering.
Koda similarly wrote to the state Vigilance Bureau, saying he would appear only after the assembly elections concluded on December 18. Assisted by the ED, the Income Tax department had on October 31 claimed that it had "clinching evidence" against Koda and his aides of alleged involvement in Rs 2000 crore hawala transactions and illegal investments.
Koda's close associates, Binod Sinha and Sanjay Choudhary, were absconding and arrest warrants have been issued against them by both the ED and the IT. The ED had arrested Sinha's brother, Vikas, who is now in judicial custody.
The Enforcement Directorate had registered a case against Koda on October 10.
In Delhi, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said that this arrest should have taken place several weeks back when the scam surfaced.
Sinha alleged that Congress, RJD, JMM leaders in the state were also involved in Madhu Koda's scam. He demanded that the probe be handed over to CBI.
Sinha pointed out that there were several clear clues available from the diaries seized by Enforcement Directorate during raids. He said, the entire scam had wide ramifications with the involvement of several political leaders and industrial houses.
Former chief minister Arjun Munda admitted that Koda, who was initially a minister in his cabinet, was involved in the scam, but he added that when Koda was made chief minister dislodging him, the scamsters spread their tentacles wider. “Koda was merely a pawn in the hands of some businessman”, Munda said.
Reacting to former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda's arrest, the Congress and RJD on Monday said the law should take its own course while opposition BJP termed it as a "delayed action".
"Law is at work as we are committed to law. Congress has zero tolerance towards corruption and there would never be any compromise on it," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said when asked to comment on Koda's arrest.
Congress leader Keshav Rao said, "We are no party to his alleged corrupt deals as we are only supporting him on the legislative issues in the House and we have never joined the government or part of it."
Denying any political motive behind the arrest, he said, "Law is taking its own course and our party is no way responsible for it."
RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta also echoed the similar view and said his party wanted the law to take its own course.
"We have nothing to say and law should take its own course," Gupta told reporters outside Parliament.
"We are with the law...We had supported his government to keep the communal forces away from Jharkhand," he added.
BJP leader SS Ahluwalia said the arrest was a delayed action on the part of the government. "The government was going slow on Koda issue because of a diary, seized by the enforcement agencies. After we put pressure on the government, they have now arrested him." PTI