Ranchi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Wednesday arrived at the residence of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren for questioning in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam. The agency officials had visited Soren’s residence in the national capital on Monday night to question him in connection with an alleged land scam case and seized Rs 36 lakh in cash and two cars belonging to the Jharkhand Chief Minister.
As per sources, the agency had issued a fresh summon to Soren, asking him to be available for questioning on January 29 or 31 failing which the agency will itself go to his residence for questioning. This was the tenth summons issued to the Jharkhand Chief Minister by the ED.
Given the tense political environment in Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi, there was heavy police deployment around the Chief Minister’s residence in Ranchi.
JMM Workers Gather Near ED Office In Ranchi
A large number of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) workers gathered at Morabadi ground against the ED’s action. The workers were seen chanting “Hemant Soren Zindabad, Long Live JMM”. The JMM workers also plan to hold a march to Raj Bhavan as a sign of protest against the ED’s action on Jharkhand CM.
Speaking to ANI, Mustaque Alam, Ranchi District President of JMM, said, “The conspiracy of the Bharatiya Janata Party seems not to be coming to an end. CM Hemant Soren has given a reply to ED on January 20, then what is the question which has not been completed yet? Today Hemant Soren will certainly answer their questions but we workers remain apprehensive that BJP keeps conspiring and under its influence, these people will try to create some trouble.”
JMM Attacks Centre
Meanwhile, JMM MP Mahua Maji accused the Centre of using the ED and the CBI to destabilise the government. “You can see how the Central Government and BJP are hatching a conspiracy to destabilise & topple governments and form their government in non-BJP ruled states. So, the party is prepared to face and tackle all conspiracies. But no such situation will arise as all the MLAs in the alliance are united. They have said that Hemant Soren will be the CM…We are hearing it from the media (about Kalpana Soren)” Mahua Maji said.
Jharkhand CM ‘Not Absconding’
Quashing rumours of evading ED summons, Soren earlier rallied party leaders and MLAs of the INDIA bloc at his residence on Tuesday, expressing readiness to cooperate fully with the ED. After the meeting concluded late at night at Soren’s residence in Ranchi, JMM said that CM Soren is ”ready to face the Enforcement Directorate on January 31 and has absolutely no fears.” The Chief Minister’s Office in Jharkhand also released pictures of Soren’s meeting with alliance party leaders today.
Kalpana Soren To Take Over As CM?
While the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leadership questions the validity of the ED’s actions, insiders hint at a contingency plan involving Kalpana Soren stepping into the political spotlight should her husband be detained. However, constitutional hurdles loom large, potentially impeding her ascension to the chief ministerial role.
The prospect of Kalpana Soren assuming the mantle faces legal scrutiny due to constitutional provisions governing by-polls in the event of premature assembly dissolution. With the assembly election scheduled for November, the legal viability of her candidacy remains uncertain. Amidst these deliberations, the BJP alleges political escapism on Hemant Soren’s part, further fueling the contentious debate.
Hemant Soren’s Role In Massive Land Scam
The Enforcement Directorate’s relentless pursuit of Soren is rooted in allegations of a massive land scam exceeding Rs 600 crore. The intricate web of corruption purportedly involves illicit land transactions orchestrated by a network of individuals, including high-ranking officials. Despite Soren’s assertions of innocence, the ED remains steadfast in its investigation, having already apprehended numerous individuals implicated in the scandal.
BJP Conspiracy, Says Soren
Denying culpability, Soren has contended that he is a victim of a malicious conspiracy orchestrated to tarnish his reputation. His steadfast defence underscores the high-stakes battle unfolding at the intersection of politics and law enforcement in Jharkhand. As the saga intensifies, the fate of the state’s leadership hangs precariously, entangled in a web of legal intricacies and political intrigue.