Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who was sentenced to three years in jail in the Rajhara North coal block allocation scam along with three others, on Sunday said he would borrow money to pay the Rs 25-lakh fine. “All my bank accounts are frozen,” Koda told PTI. “I will try to get debt from someone to pay the fine [or] otherwise face whatever situation arises.”
He said that he was sad as he had failed to prove his innocence, and would consult his lawyer about approaching the Delhi High Court. The special Central Bureau of Investigation court, which convicted and sentenced Koda and the others, has granted them statutory bail for two months to enable them to challenge their convictions in the High Court.
Koda said that he would not be able to contest elections because of the special CBI court’s order, but said he would “keep working for the public and fight for their rights”. He said that when he joined politics, becoming an MP or an MLA was not his objective.
The case against Koda and the others is related to the allocation of the Rajhara North coal block to the Kolkata-based Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd or Visul. The investigating agency argued that Koda, former Coal Secretary HC Gupta and two other public servants – Basant Kumar Bhattacharya and Bipin Bihari Singh – conspired to favour Visul in the allocation.
The CBI had told the court that the Jharkhand government and steel ministry did not recommend the allocation when the company had applied for it in 2007. However, former Coal Secretary Gupta, who headed the Screening Committee, recommended that the block be allocated to Visul later, the CBI alleged. He also did not inform Manmohan Singh, who was then the prime minister, that Jharkhand had not recommended they allocate the block to Visul.