New Delhi, Nov. 11: Madhu Koda filed an appeal in the Supreme Court today to contest Delhi High Court’s dismissal of his plea against the Election Commission, asking that proceedings against him for allegedly fudging poll accounts be stayed.
The former chief minister, who is MP from Singhbhum, is scheduled to face an Election Commission hearing on November 18 after which he could end up losing his Parliament membership over alleged inaccuracies in expenditure accounts he submitted during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
Koda furnished accounts for Rs 18 lakh after the elections, but in October 2010 the commission issued him a showcause notice, alleging that his statement wasn’t in the required format and lacked necessary documents.
The commission had noted last year that it had found his election expenses to be nearly Rs 10 crore against a statutory limit of Rs 25 lakh.
Koda challenged the commission’s jurisdiction to check the veracity of his poll accounts in Delhi High Court, which on September 30, dismissed his plea along with that of former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, who also questioned the commission’s jurisdiction into investigating allegations of having paid for favourable news coverage.
Chavan moved the Supreme Court which stayed the Election Commission’s proceedings against him on November 3. Now, Koda, who has been in Birsa Munda Jail facing corruption charges, hopes that he, too, would be granted a similar verdict.
Last month, Koda had written to the commission to adjourn its hearing on his case as he was unable to brief his counsel properly due to imprisonment. On October 21, the commission postponed the hearing to November 18.
A stay order from the Supreme Court now would allow him to avoid the hearing.
“Our plea is that under Section 77(1) of the Representation of the People’s Act, the commission can only enquire into the manner of filing accounts of election expenses as provided in rule 86 of the conduct of election rules. They can only check the form and not the substance, which can only be done by the respective high court,” said Koda’s counsel Himanshu Shekhar.
Currently, Koda is in Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi after undergoing surgery in his arm to mend a fracture he suffered in a prison brawl on October 31.
Koda’s lawyer refuted CBI claims that his associate Sanjay Chaudhary was arrested on a red corner notice by Interpol in Dubai. “I have spoken to him. He is with his family in Dubai. He was only questioned and let off, not arrested,” Shekhar claimed.
Chaudhury is accused of laundering Koda’s alleged ill-gotten wealth to UAE and Liberia. The Enforcement Directorate has an arrest warrant pending against him.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) based English Daily The National had quoted Dubai’s Criminal Investigation Department director- Brigadier Khalil Al Mansouri- yesterday saying: “The Indian authorities have inquired about this person from us but we have not arrested him… If he was arrested there would be no reason for us to hide it.”
Interpol is represented in member countries by national central bureaux (NCB). In India, the CBI is the NCB. In Dubai, the Interpol section of Dubai Police handles Interpol cases.
Asked to clarify, CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said, “You should ask the UAE Interpol. We are moving for extradition with help from the ministry of external affairs.”