The under-construction mall in Bistupur on Wednesday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
A six-member team from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Ranchi, visited Jamshedpur on Wednesday evening and pasted a notice on an under-construction mall, which is said to be owned by former chief minister Madhu Koda’s close aide Vinod Sinha, prohibiting its sale or transfer.
The notice was furnished for acquiring the property, located at Contractors’ Area in Bistupur, in violation of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
“The notice was issued by the office of A.K. Sinha, assistant director, ED. The notice prohibited and restrained transfer, sale or mortgage of the property until further orders,” said senior official Harish Kumar, who was part of the ED team.
Copies of the notice were forwarded to the circle office of Jamshedpur and the sub-registrar’s office.
Construction work at the site of the multi-crore complex, named Balaji Lifestyle Mall, came to a halt in November 2009, after bank accounts of Koda and his associates were put under freeze following raids by the income tax department and ED. Once construction was stalled, bookings for office and business spaces in the mall stopped, too.
Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC) had earlier confirmed that Koda’s aide Vinod Sinha had submitted the mall’s building plan in 2008.
The building plan of the complex, spread over 1.5 acres falling under Tata lease area, was approved by JNAC in early 2009.
The land was earlier owned by Ravi Inder Singh, former proprietor of Indian Steel and Wire Products, now a Tata Steel subsidiary. It was purchased by Sinha and a few other partners in 2008. After purchasing the land they tied up with Balaji Group of Mumbai, owned by diamond merchant Manoj Punamia, also a key accused in the Koda scam.
Construction for the seven-storeyed mall, proposed to be a city landmark, had begun in July 2009. The centrally air-conditioned complex was to host a shopping hub on three levels besides a business zone.
Equipped with the latest fire-fighting and safety features, the mall was to have escalators and capsule lifts. The mega project was estimated to cost around Rs 300 crore.