EC disqualifies Jharkhand ex-CM Madhu Koda from contesting polls
The Election Commission (EC) disqualified former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda for three years for filing wrong poll expenditure documents when he contested the 2009 LS polls from Jharkhand's Singhbhum constituency. Koda had submitted a total expenditure of Rs. 18.92L; however, the I-T department later found that Rs. 9.32cr was spent on the poll campaign. Who is Koda? How did the case progress? Know more!
Koda was born into a poor farmer's family in Patahatu village in West Singhbhum district. His early education was from the village school, matriculation from Chaibasa's zilla school and graduation through correspondence from Odisha's Utkal University. He resisted his father's attempts of making him a policeman and instead turned to politics. In the early 1990s, he joined the BJP's youth wing.
Babulal Marandi, upcoming BJP leader and Jharkhand's first CM, took Koda under his wing, leading to Koda winning from Jagannathpur in the 1999 elections. The BJP, however, denied him a ticket in the 2005 Assembly elections. He won as an independent and bargained for the Mines portfolio with BJP. In a year, political equations changed and Koda became the third independent MLA to become CM.
As mines minister in BJP-led Arjun Munda's government, Koda allegedly laundered money with friends Binod Sinha and Sanjay Choudhary. Probe agencies say they made about Rs. 3.6cr a day. They bought hotels and mines in Thailand, Liberia, among others. As CM, Koda renegotiated MoUs worth nearly Rs. 2L cr with about 44 firms and transferred money overseas by hawala, setting up about 25 companies.
In 2009 elections, Koda won from Singhbhum. Then, based on a news report, EC questioned Koda about submitting wrong campaign expenditure figures. He had allegedly spent Rs. 28L on advertisements disguised as "favorable news" to six media houses, but his submission showed Rs. 2.24L. After to-and-fro with the EC, Koda filed a petition challenging the EC's jurisdiction in this matter with the Delhi HC.
Delhi HC denied Koda's petition ordering him to appear before EC. Koda challenged the HC order in SC, which stayed the EC's proceedings in 2012. In 2013, EC asked the CBI for the charge sheet filed in Koda's disproportionate assets case, which stated election expenditure as being about Rs. 7.38cr. After SC dismissed Koda's petition, EC continued its proceedings.
A 49-page EC order states that submitted poll expenses were "untrue and false." It says that Koda "stands disqualified for three years" for not providing election expenses as "required by the law" and for having no "justification for such failure."