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Saturday , January 30 , 2010
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BJP in fix over govt’s Koda stand

Ranchi, Jan. 29: The government shielding tainted former chief minister Madhu Koda and half a dozen of his erstwhile colleagues from a CBI probe has put the BJP — a key coalition partner that has been pitching for “serious investigations” into the multi-crore assets scam — in a quandary.

While deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Raghubar Das justified the state stand, several others maintained studied silence. “The accused have been arrested and chargesheeted too. So, there is no need for a CBI probe now,” Das said.

Jamshedpur MP and former chief minister Arjun Munda refused to comment, saying the issue should be discussed at the party forum by those who are ministers (read Das) in the government.

Munda’s guarded reply strongly suggested that he was upset with the government decision.

Like Munda, BJP vice-president Dineshanand Goswami, too, skirted questions, but senior party leader and former MLA Sarayu Roy was articulate. “The government’s act is shameful and unfortunate. It is like surrendering to the mafiosi,” he said, pointing out that the scam involving Koda and Co. had international dimensions and was, thus, beyond the state vigilance bureau’s jurisdiction.

It is learnt that a peeved Roy has even broached the issue with the BJP’s Jharkhand in-charge Karuna Shukla, who has promised to raise the matter at the party meet in Ranchi on February 1.

Another BJP leader, Ravindra Rai, played it safe. He said that the state’s duty was to ensure exemplary punishment for the corrupt. “If the high court feels that the state agency is not competent to do justice, it may reject the government’s affidavit and order a CBI probe. The government should honour such a verdict,” he added.

The Shibu Soren government, in an affidavit to Jharkhand High Court yesterday, had said that there was no need for a CBI probe against Koda and five former ministers. The court had earlier asked the government to clarify its stand over a CBI probe against Koda and his former colleagues while hearing a PIL.

Koda, at the centre of a Rs 2,000-crore money laundering scam, is in jail since November 30 after his arrest by the state vigilance bureau.

The probe issue has created a divide in the Opposition Congress, too. Former state president Pradeep Balmuchu said he was in favour of speedy investigation, no matter which agency conducted it.

But former MP Rameshwar Oraon, a front-runner for the Congress state president’s job, said that though he did not doubt the competence of the vigilance bureau, he had little faith in the government.

“It will suppress investigations. A CBI probe is needed to nail corrupt politicians,” Oraon, also an IPS officer, said.

The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha also got an opportunity to embarrass the BJP. “Now the BJP should make its stand clear over the government's stand over the Koda case. The BJP is part of the Soren government and it had made a CBI probe an issue in the past,” said JVM-P legislature party leader Pradeep Yadav.

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