THIS IS the man who masterminded ‘The Great Jharkhand Loot’, which allegedly took place when Madhu Koda, supported by the BJP, was at the helm in the state between September 2006 and August 2008.
Binod Sinha, 36, knew Koda from his college days in Chaibasa. At that time, they had different political allegiances: he was with the Congress and Koda with the BJP. That didn’t stop Koda, when he became the chief minister, from liberally awarding mining and electrification contracts to Sinha — contracts that the CBI is now examining under a microscope.
According to sources, Sinha was the man who used to strike deals with industrialists interested in mining contracts in Jharkhand.
When the CBI traced him to a rented accommodation in East of Kailash area of Delhi on 16 September, he had many people on his tail: Jharkhand’s Vigilance Bureau, the Income Tax sleuths, the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.
Investigators say he is singing, but in a piecemeal manner. Sinha’s testimony is crucial for making a strong case against the former chief minister, who is also in custody.
The corruption charges against Koda had come to light when a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Jharkhand High Court in 2008 by Durga Oraon, little known at that point.
In the PIL, serious charges of corruption were levelled against Koda. The high court found enough meat in the PIL to order a vigilance probe in the matter.
Later on, the Enforcement Directorate was also involved as it was alleged that the accused persons have stashed their money abroad. Consequently, the case was handed over to the CBI by the high court. The Income Tax (IT) department is also probing the matter as it involves black money. Sources have told TEHELKA that the IT authorities have so far found black money to the tune of around Rs. 400 crore in the case.
Oraon provided photocopies of eight handwritten pages, in which some payments were mentioned in code — allegedly to high-profile politicians and hawala dealers in Delhi, Ranchi and Kanpur. Investigators say most of the graft money has been invested abroad or in benami properties.
Sinha’s testimony is crucial for making a strong case against former CM Koda
As far as ‘foreign investments’ are concerned, investigators are not very hopeful of getting any early breakthrough, given past experience. Though it is not easy to connect these properties with the accused persons, investigators have identified a few suspect properties in this regard: These include:
1. A 7-acre plot on the outskirts of Tata Nagar near Jamshedpur, suspected to belong to a politician
2. A palatial property in Devghar, Jharkhand, again suspected to be of a former politician
3. A house in C block of Sushant Lok, Gurgaon, believed to be of a former Jharkhand minister
4. A four-storey property in Sector 64 of Noida, suspected to be of a close aide of a politician. The aide runs a ‘management’ company from the property
5. A property in Panchsheel Enclave, New Delhi, with a market value of 70 crore. Although it is in the name of a Delhi-based businessman, investigators suspect that the real owner is a journalist-turned-politician- turned-sports administrator. Apparently, the property dealer involved in the deal did not get his commission, so he spilled the beans in pique.
Now, CBI investigators are in the process of getting concrete evidence to connect these properties to the accused persons.
So it’s not just Koda — other politicians also might find themselves in trouble if Sinha sings like a canary.
Photo: Rajesh Kumar Sen