Mind-boggling feat

FIRST EDIT

The investigations conducted by the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department against former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda are the largest ever against any Indian politician in terms of the number of places and premises raided and the strength of the staff deployed for the purpose. The findings are also among the biggest ever — hundreds of crores in accounted wealth, thousands of crores of illegal money laundering and investments in places like Liberia and Dubai.
Investigations show that Koda has a network of people inside the country and outside who formed a web of corruption, illegalities and cheating. He was a labourer with no means before he joined politics 15 years ago and had meagre assets before he became a minister and later the chief minister. It is clear where the wealth that he possesses came from. He was the first independent MLA to become the chief minister of a state. The Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha had supported him.

Jharkhand is rich in minerals and successive chief ministers and ministers have looted its riches to make private and illegal gains. Political instability has also been exploited to maximise personal returns. One of the country’s most notorious symbols of corruption, Shibu Soren, is from the state. The present raids are the result of six months of investigations against Koda and his colleagues, involving even international agencies. Two former ministers are already in jail on money laundering charges. The results confirm the suspicions that politicians have stashed away their ill-gotten wealth abroad.

Koda’s charge that the raids are an attempt to tarnish his image will not find any takers. The state is going to have assembly elections later this month and Koda has said that he has been targeted because of that. But he has not explained how he has come to possess so much wealth. It is also not known why the investigating agencies have  targeted only independents, when leaders of political parties in Jharkhand are also considered to be neck-deep in corruption. What has been revealed might only be the tip of the iceberg in the state where a politician-bureaucrat-contractor nexus is very active. That is one reason for the growth of naxalism in the state. It is necessary to widen the scope of investigations, expedite them and ensure that they lead to punishment of the guilty. Often they are dumped when political equations change.

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