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Published On: Wed, Sep 27th, 2017

Former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda barred from contesting elections for 3 years

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449440-madhu-koda10.01.16NEW DELHI : The Election Commission on Wednesday disqualified for three years former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda from contesting elections for failing to file details of expenses related to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls he fought. He had won the polls from the Singhbhum Lok Sabha seat in Jharkhand.

An order issued by the Commission said that Koda “stands disqualified for three years” from today for “failing to lodge his account of election expenses in the manner required by the law and for having no good reason or justification for such failure”. The Commission order signed by chief election commissioner A.K. Joti and Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat cited section 10 A of the Representation of the People Act to disqualify Koda.
Mr. Koda had failed to provide a satisfactory explanation despite ample opportunities, the Commission said he was liable for disqualification for three years on the grounds of submitting a false account of expenditures. The Commission had been hearing the case against Koda for allegedly furnishing false election expenditure records after the 2009 polls.

Koda was elected as independent MP in 2009, and in October 2010 the Election Commission had issued notice to him asking him as to why he should not be disqualified on the ground that he had allegedly shown the election expenses much less than the actual amount of Rs 18,92,353.
The 49-page order said the account of poll expenses submitted by the Jharkhand politician was “untrue and false”.Koda had moved the Delhi high court questioning EC’s jurisdiction, but the poll panel was given a go ahead by the court to proceed against the politician.

In September 2010, the EC had taken cognisance of a news report about huge expenses incurred by Mr. Koda for campaigning during the 2009 general elections. The District Election Officer of Jharkhand’s Chaibasa also submitted a report in August 2010, stating that Mr. Koda, a candidate from Singhbhum Lok Sabha constituency, had not submitted details in the required manner.

“The case also relates to an investigation by the Income-Tax Department against Madhu Koda, in which huge election campaign expense was revealed to have been incurred by him, which was beyond the permissible limit under the law,” said the EC order. Mr. Koda was declared elected on May 16, 2009. He submitted a total expenditure of ₹18.92 lakh. The Income-Tax Department later found that he had filed a “false declaration” and that he had spent ₹9.32 crore on the election campaign.

The former Chief Minister had allegedly spent ₹28 lakh on advertisements given to six media houses, while the amount shown was only ₹2.24 lakh. The EC got a copy of the Income-Tax report and served a show-cause notice on him. Mr. Koda filed his response in October 2010. Another notice was served on him in January 2011. He sought multiple extensions, on various pretexts, for filing a reply.

Meanwhile, Mr. Koda filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court pleading that the EC notices be quashed. The petition challenged the Commission’s jurisdiction to decide any issue pertaining to excessive expenditure. The petition was dismissed in September 2011. He was then told to appear before the EC.
However, Mr. Koda challenged the High Court order in the Supreme Court, which stayed the proceedings before the Commission on May 9, 2012. Meanwhile, in October 2013, the EC wrote to the Central Bureau of Investigation seeking a copy of the charge sheet filed against Mr. Koda in the disproportionate assets case, for submissions before the Supreme Court.

The charge sheet stated that Mr. Koda had incurred election expenditures to the tune of ₹7.38 crore. The Supreme Court dismissed the Special Leave Petition in May 2014. Subsequently, the Commission continued the proceedings and heard the witnesses.“The discrepancies in the amount of election expenditures provided against the respondent and the amounts accounted for by the respondent in his account clearly illustrate and demonstrate that the account expenses submitted by the respondent was untrue and false…,” said the EC order.

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