Madhu Koda, former Jharkhand Chief Minister, has been held guilty in a coal scam case by a special court. Along with Koda, ex-coal secretary H C Gupta has also been declared guilty of corruption and other charges in the case. Other persons declared guilty by Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar ex-Jharkhand chief secretary A K Basu and private company Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL). According to PTI, they were held guilty of varying offenses including criminal conspiracy in the case pertaining to irregularities in allocation of Rajhara North coal block in Jharkhand to the Kolkata-based VISUL. Hearing for deciding the quantum of punishment will take place tomorrow.
Rise and fall of Madhu Koda – from rags to riches to jail
Rise and fall of Madhu Koda is a story that may inspire a Bollywood film. It is said that Koda’s father had forced him to drop out of college because of financial problems and asked him to find a job to fend for the family. Koda gave up his dream of joining the army and instead became a labourer in an iron mine at Gua. Koda experienced corruption and exploitation of labourers first hand at the mines. “They would get our thumb impressions against payments of Rs.20.50 and would pay us Rs.16. It left an impression on me,” Koda had once told the media.
Madhu Koda was born in village Gua of Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. His father Rasika Koda, a tribal farmer, wanted him to have him a normal life. But Koda wanted a bigger life and his flight took him to a stage that he eventually landed in jail after being held for money laundering. “I had tried to convince him not to join politics, but he said he wanted to serve the country and society. How could I stop him from doing so? He had been sleepless since he joined politics and his thoughts were a chaos. It landed him in controversy,” Rasika had told IANS in 2009.
Koda had dropped out of Tata College of Chaibasa in 1988. Then an independent MP from Singhbhum, Koda was arrested in Chaibasa in 2009 for allegedly amassing Rs 400 billion through dubious deals. “A farmer’s son should have remained a farmer. He was good at farming and was a welder. He could have got a job at the Steel Authority of India and lived a normal life. But he dreamt big and failed to live it up,” his sister Sumitra Birua had told IANS in 2009.
Political career – surprise CM
Madhu Koda started his political career as an activist of All Jharkhand Students Union. He entered politics by winning in 2000 Bihar Assembly elections from Jaganathpur as a BJP candidate. After the separation of Bihar and Jharkhand on 15 November 2000, Koda became a member of the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly and served as Minister of State, Rural Engineering Organisation (Independent Charge) in the then Babulal Marandi government of the state. Following revolt within the ruling party, Marandi had to resign and Arjun Munda became the new CM on 18 March 2003. Koda served in Munda government as minister of Panchayati Raj of Special Arrangement.
Koda was denied a ticket by BJP during 2005 Assembly Elections in the state. He then contested as an Independent candidate and won from Jaganathpur once again. Koda also extended his support to the BJP-led NDA. On March 2, 2005, Shibu Soren-led Congress-JMM alliance was invited to form the government by the governor, but Soren resigned 9 days later after failing to get vote of confidence. Later, Arjun Munda formed the NDA government and Koda served as the Minister of Mining Geology and Cooperative. Koda and three other independent candidates triggered the fall of Munda government in September 2006 by withdrawing support.
Later, UPA chose Koda as a consensus candidate to become state CM. Koda took oath on 14 September, 2006. However, in August 2008, JMM withdrew support from Koda government as Shibu Soren again staked the claim for the CM post. Koda resigned on 23 Aug 2008 and became the UPA in-charge of Jharkhand state. Soren again became the CM of state on 27 Aug 2008 but suffered a humiliating defeat in the assembly bypoll on 8 Jan 2009 from Tamar constituency. Soren resigned again on 12 January 2009, leading to the imposition of President’s rule in the state. In 2009 General elections, Koda became an MP from Singhbhum as an independent candidate. In 2014 Jharkhand Assembly Election, Koda lost from Majhgao constituency
Madhu Koda mining scam case
It was alleged by agencies that Koda had taken huge bribes for illegally allotting iron ore and coal mining contracts in Jharkhand when he served as the chief minister of the state. Koda and his associates are believed to have collected over Rs 4,000 crore by allotting mines to business houses. Jharkhand High Court had ordered the CBI to probe into the scam. Koda was arrested by Jhakhand police’s vigilance wing on 30 November 2009.