The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday barred former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda from contesting polls for three years for submitting a false account of his poll expenditure incurred during the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
Currently, Koda is neither an MP nor an MLA. His wife Gita Koda is the MLA from Jagannathpur (Scheduled Tribe) seat in West Singhbhum. The EC’s order is with regard to his election from the Singhbhum seat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Koda, in his disclosure of election expenditure, had shown expenses worth Rs 18,92,353. According to an investigation by the Income Tax department, Koda had allegedly spent Rs 9.32 crore on his election campaign, of which expenses on advertisements alone were Rs 28 lakh as opposed to the disclosed figure of Rs 2.24 lakh.
Based on the I-T report, the EC first issued a showcause notice to Koda on August 5, 2010. The poll panel conducted over 25 hearings since 2014 and concluded that Koda had spent on 48 paid news items and had accounted for just 14. He was disqualified under Section 10A of the Representation of the People Act for false reporting of expenditure.
He could not be reached for comment.
Earlier this year, the poll panel disqualified Madhya Pradesh cabinet minister Narottam Mishra on similar charges. He has challenged the decision in court.
Koda, who was an Independent MLA during his term as Chief Minister from 2006-2008, was also allegedly involved in several cases of financial bungling. The former Chief Minister ran the government with the help of several parties, including the Congress, JMM and the RJD, and was later embroiled in controversy over investing thousands of crores illegally in coal mines out of India.