On 9th November 2011, Sanjay Choudhary was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) on the charges of money laundering by the International Police Organization (Interpol). The Central Bureau of Investigation (C.B.I.) the investigating agency that is looking into the money laundering cases against Madhu Koda, the former Chief Minister of Jharkhand and his aides, it had issued a Red Corner Notice against Sanjay Choudhary. Briefing media, CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra confirmed that Sanjay Chaudhary had been arrested by Interpol in Dubai. It was also said that CBI would approach UAE authorities through official channels and begin the process of Sanjay Choudhary’s extradition, as they believe Sanjay helped Madhu Koda in siphoning huge amount of public money and helped it invest abroad dubiously.
What are the allegations against Madhu Koda and his aides?
To refresh our memories now let us look at the timeline of the events related to Madhu Koda’s corruption cases.
|10th October 2008||P.I.L. (Public Interest Litigation) filed against Madhu Koda and his council of Ministers for CBI investigations into their assets.|
|9th October 2009||E.D. filed F.I.R (First Information Report).|
|31st October 2009||I.T. raids were conducted across India in 146 locations, and it was claimed that Rs. 4000 crore of scam was unearthed.|
|30th November 2009||Vigilance Bureau arrested Madhu Koda in disproportionate asset (D.A.) case|
|23rd July 2010||Jharkhand High Court asked CBI to conduct investigation|
|11th August 2010||C.B.I. filed F.I.R.|
|16th September 2010||Vinod Sinha was arrested in Delhi.|
|October 2010||C.B.I. filed charge-sheet against Madhu Koda and his aides.|
|20th September 2011||C.B.I. Court in Ranchi issued non-bailable warrant against Sanjay Choudhary.|
|14th October 2011||Interpol issued red corner notice against Sanjay Chaoudhary|
|Presently, apart from Madhu Koda, his close aide Vinod Sinha, Sinha’s brother, Manoj Punamiya (Mumbai-based hawala trader), Arvind Vyas and few others are in jail in Ranchi.|
|Also Madhu Koda’s former ministerial colleagues Kamlesh Kumar Singh, Enos Ekka, Bhanu Pratap Shahi and Hari Narayan Rai are in same jail.|
In 2009, during the country-wide raids into the Madhu Koda and Aides’ places, the investigating agencies had came across heavy investments made on acquiring assets like three firms in Mumbai, property in Kolkotta, hotel in Thailand, coal mine in Liberia (West Africa), et al. It is alleged that Madhu Koda recommended mining rights to 32 companies and for the same he took Rupees 130 crore as bribe; a company called Core Steel paid Rupees 13 crore as bribe. So in October 2009 Madhu Koda was charged with amassing huge wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income and in November, 2009 CBI arrested Koda in Chaibasa. CBI also arrested Vinod Sinha from Delhi in September, 2010.
According to C.B.I., I.T. Department and Enforcement Directorate (E.D.) the former CM Madhu Koda has Rupees 4000 crore worth of illegal assets and these financial figures could go up further. This is certainly the biggest scam in the short – history of Jharkhand.
But few other Madhu Koda’s aides and the accused got away.
Who is Sanjay Choudhary?
Hailing from Drabhanga District in Bihar, Sanjay Choudhary’s family shifted to Jamshedpur, at Dimna Road in Maango. His father Jai Narayan Choudhary was a tobacco seller, he used to sell it on his bicycle. About two decades ago, Sanjay Choudhary started cassette shop on Dimna Road. Later on he turned his cement shop into a cement shop. With the help of criminal gang of Jamshedpur, Upendra Singh alias Mastaan Singh, Lakhi Gaur, Surendra Singh (Chockeleti Killer) , Sanjay Choudhary expanded his business and became a big supplier of Sand, Bricks, Cement and other construction materials. Round about same time, twenty years ago Madhu Koda was a labourer in SAIL’s mines at Gua and Vinod Sinha was a small time businessman selling milk in Chaibasa.
In 1998, Sanjay Choudhary also got into the Travel Business; his new business brought him in contact with Binod Sinha, Baridih resident Anil Singh and later with many local politicians including Madhu Koda.
Another accused and Madhu Koda’s aide Anil Singh too managed to escape. According to the grapevine, Anil is in Thailand, where he manages Business Empire worth more than 1000 crore, funded by the money that was illegally laundered out. Ironically, Anil escaped to Thailand after being released on bail by the Jharkhand High Court in a firing incident on BJP leader and Jamshedpur Zila Parishad member Rajkumar Singh.
Sanjay Choudhury too had left India for Dubai (U.A.E.) in 2005-2006, when Madhu Koda was chief minister; allegedly he shifted to Dubai to look after and manage Madhu Koda’s huge but dubious investments abroad. Since then he has declared himself to be Non-Resident Indian and presently he is settled in Dubai with his wife, children and younger brother Mritunjay Choudhury.
What are the allegations against Sanjay Choudhary?
During investigations, E.D. and I.T. Department had found that there were alleged transfers of about Rupees 550 crore from Madhu Koda to a front-man in Dubai, who goes by the name of one Abdul Bhai. It was also found that a Mumbai-based contact was also behind the transfers. According to these investigative agencies, Sanjay Choudhary helped Madhu Koda in routing his alleged illegal investments to different foreign countries, such as Liberia and the U.A.E.
Based on their investigations, E.D. had issued an arrest warrant against Sanjay Choudhary; last year, C.B.I. too had filed a charge-sheet against Koda and his aides Vinod Sinha and Sanjay Choudhary in the court of a special judge in Ranchi under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of I.P.C. and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The charge-sheet accused Koda of misusing his position to allegedly benefit Sinha and Choudhary in taking ‘bribes’ from various companies in the allotment of lease of iron mines. It has alleged that Sanjay Choudhary got illegal gratification to the tune of Rupees 13 crore from Mumbai based company Core Steel, for showing favour in allotment of leases for iron ore mining in West Singhbhum District, Jharkhand.
After Sanjay Choudhary’s arrest, it is expected that under the extradition treaty the accused Sanjay Choudhary would be handed over to C.B.I. and brought to justice in the ongoing investigation in Jharkhand.
Can we blame Madhu Koda alone for the scam?
Among the common public in Jharkhand there is popular perception that quite a good number of Politicians, Bureucrats and Others were involved in this scam along with Madhu Koda. Even the recent attack on him in the Birsa Jail premises do point out towards this fact. Maybe behind-the-scene-powerful-people do not want him to open his mouth, spill the beans and perhaps the attack was a warning. But these are only speculations, only the investigative agencies can find out the truth.
Still we believe, sooner Madhu Koda and his aides are brought to justice; better it shall be for Jharkhand State and its voiceless voters, called aam-janta.
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