New Delhi, April 12: Enforcement Directorate has begun attaching Madhu Koda and his friends properties, mostly flats and land in Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, valued at over Rs 300 crore.
Armed with an April 6 approval order from the adjudicating authority for cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the directorate is sticking to the higher valuation even though 2007 revenue department assessments pegged the properties worth at around Rs 130 crore.
This is the largest attachment made under the PMLA from any politician, said a senior official of the directorate. You can expect another couple of orders, but this will take at least a months time as we are busy with 2G cases.
He added that the total value of the properties, amassed by the former chief minister and his associates Binod Sinha, Vikas Sinha and Sunil Sinha, could well go up to Rs 300 crore.
Several companies, including Rohitas Krishnans Quantum Powertech, Ranchi, and Manohar Lal Pals Smridhi Sponge Limited, Jamshedpur, have also been attached.
While Krishnan was arrested by CBI for money laundering last year, Pal was questioned in February by the directorate in Delhi.
Krishnan is also allegedly involved in Jharkhands rural electrification scam along with Binod, who was arrested by the CBI in Delhi last October.
Other companies on the attachment list include Calcutta-based Lacky Projects, IAG Co. and Shivans Steel, Jamshedpur-based Kolhan Trading, India Cars and Motors, Emmar Alloys and Ranchis Khalari Cements.
While the companies will be allowed to function, to protect the livelihoods of their employees, they cannot be disposed of, altered or destroyed, the official said.
The directorate admitted it would need the assistance of the state government, district officials and police to attach the properties. But, officials maintained that they would lose no time in doing so.
We are also examining if there are properties under benami ownership, in which case they also will be attached. Investigations are still on, the official said, admitting the Koda affair had been a quite a tough case as many of the defendants, like Sanjay Choudhary, Dhananjay Choudhary, Indonesia-based Anil Vastavade and Pune-based businessman Ajay Bafna, were at large with non-bailable warrants on their heads.
Binod could only be examined by November. Until then, he managed to continue his secret proceeds of crime and he may have destroyed incriminating documents, he added.
On March 4, the directorate had filed a chargesheet at a special court in Ranchi against Koda, Binod, Vikas, Manoj Punamiya and hawala trader Arvind Vyas.
Mumbai-based precious metals trader Punamiyas revelations, under interrogation in Delhi last month, are said to be critical to the case.
The directorate is awaiting replies to its letters rogatory sent to Dubai, Sweden, Thailand, Indonesia and Liberia to probe illegal investments of Koda and his friends who are also being probed by the income tax department, CBI and vigilance bureau for a range of financial crimes.