Chief Minister of Jharkand, Madhu Koda is charged with secret bullion transactions linked to mining overseas and developing an extensive empire of business interests through a front company awarded contracts by the Uttar Pradesh government. This could amount to as much as 4,000cr, much of which has found its way into Swiss bank accounts. Koda himself is currently in hospital with high blood pressure but the first of his associates has now been arrested and more arrests are expected to follow. Koda, himself, has been informed by the Enforcement Directorate that he will be arrested upon leaving hospital and is expected in any event to attend for interrogation on November 11th.
But now the scandal looks set to widen and engulf Bollywood with accusations that Koda offered two actresses the sums of 50 lakhs and 10 lakhs to act as brand ambassadors for Jharkand. This may refer to the curious incident surrounding Koena Mitra in January 2008 when it emerged that she had been appointed as a brand ambassador in order to attract investment from NRIs into the state. However, two days later, this was hotly denied by Koda, who said the whole idea had been dreamed up by an NRI magazine.
Eyebrows were also raised recently when little known actress Preeti Jhangiani was invited to the flag handing over ceremony to promote the troubled 34th National Games which are due to take place in Jharkand later this year. Actors Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif were also paid to act as brand ambassadors for the games by the National Games Organising Committee – although Akshay promptly passed his fee on to the Special Olympics. Although no one is accusing the stars themselves of having done anything wrong, questions were asked at the time as to why the NGOC in Jharkand was spending so much money at a time of deep recession.