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ED closes in on Koda aides

Ranchi, Feb. 21: A special court trying money laundering cases against Madhu Koda today declared as absconders two of his aides and ordered issuance of red corner notices against five other acquaintances accused of helping him invest his money overseas.

The special court of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Ranchi (PMLA), ordered that public notices declaring them absconders be issued against Sanjay Chaudhary and Dhananjay Chaudhary.

The judge, R. K. Chaudury, also asked authorities to impound their passports. While Sanjay Chaudhary had been arrested in Dubai on November 9, 2011 on an Interpol red corner notice, and against whom deportation proceedings are underway, Dhananjay Chaudhary is still in hiding.

The duo are accused of investing Koda’s slush funds in Dubai. The next step, said sources in the Enforcement Directorate (ED), was seizure of property.

In the case of the five aides, Manoj Kumar Sinha, Sunil Kumar Sinha, Saubhik Chattopadhyay, Rohitash Krishnan and Ajay Amolchand Bafna, the court also ordered revocation of their passports and attachment of property including investments in real estate spread over Jharkhand, Bihar and Maharashtra.

On August 23, 2010, non-bailable arrest warrants were issued by the PMLA court of Ranchi against Koda aides —Vijay Joshi, managing director of Indo Asahi Glass Factory, Ramgarh, and hawala agents Anil Adinath Bastawade, Rohitash Krishnan, Ajay Amolch and Bafna in connection with the multi-crore money laundering scam.

An ED dossier has noted that at least Rs 3,549.72 crore was siphoned out of the state to various domestic and overseas destinations during Koda’s chief ministerial tenure between 2006 and 2008.

In a status report submitted to Jharkhand High Court, ED said that the former chief minister laundered around Rs.1,340 crore of government funds and listed similar figures against all his aides —Arvind Vyas (Rs 1,020 crore), Binod Kumar Sinha (Rs 915.2 crore),Vijay Joshi (Rs 152 crore), Manoj Kumar Punamiya (Rs 59.69 crore),Vikas Sinha (Rs 45 crore) and Kamlesh Kumar Singh, a former minister, (Rs 4.43 crore).

ED has filed a complaint against all of them under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at the special court in Ranchi.

ED has also sent letters rogatory to Dubai, Indonesia, Thailand, Liberia and Sweden. So far, only Sweden has responded to the ED's letter.

Investigators suspect that over Rs.200 crore was wired from India and invested in real estate in Dubai. The money, acquired by Koda and his aides through corrupt means, was transferred to a number of close associates and companies in India and foreign countries through hawala channels, the ED probe revealed.

The status report also mentions that the accused acquired movable and immovable property from the proceeds of financial crimes committed in a number of foreign countries.