Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Nishikant Dubey on Tuesday claimed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal helped his Jharkhand counterpart Hemant Soren in driving away from the national capital to Ranchi, saying ‘chor chor mausere bhai’ (birds of a feather flock together). Dubey’s post on X comes at a time when Soren held a key meeting at his residence in Ranchi with the allies to make a strategy to deal with the prevailing situation that emerged after ED’s searches and proposed interrogation which will take place on Wednesday.
“According to the information, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal helped in driving away Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren ji from Delhi to Ranchi, this cooperation extended to Varanasi, Jharkhand Minister Mithlesh Thakur ji was taken from Varanasi to Ranchi. Chor chor mausere bhai,” Dubey posted on X.
Key meeting of ruling allies at CM residence
According to the sources, the ruling allies showed their faith in Soren’s leadership at the meeting which ended at late night on Tuesday. On the question, whether they support him if he takes a big decision in the coming days, all attendees at the meeting expressed their consent to him, they added. They also gave a written assurance to continue their support to Soren, the sources said.
After the conclusion of the meeting at CM’s residence, Jharkhand Minister and JMM leader Mithilesh Thakur said, “We are from the alliance, we are running the government. Such meetings are normal. We discussed how to run the government and meet people’s expectations.”
In photographs and videos shared by Soren’s office on X, MLAs and ministers were seen greeting the chief minister before taking part in the meeting. Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren was also present at the meeting.
All the MLAs of I.N.D.I.A bloc were present at the meeting and all of them displayed unity, said Congress MLA Pradeep Yadav who also attended the meeting.
“All MLAs showed their faith in the leadership of CM Hemant Soren. We will not let the BJP reach the CM’s chair,” he added.
Hemant Soren to be questioned by ED tomorrow
The ED officials will question Soren at his residence in the land scam at 1 pm on Wednesday. In the email received by ED on Monday from Soren, it was mentioned that he would be present for questioning at 1 pm on January 31.
Untraceable’ Soren returns to Ranchi
Earlier, amid ‘suspense’ over his whereabouts and intense political drama, Soren on Tuesday reached his official residence in Ranchi. A day after an ED team visited the JMM executive president’s Delhi home with the intent to question him and agency officials claimed that he was “untraceable”, sources close to Soren said that the 48-year-old Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader came by road from Delhi, undertaking a more than 1250 km journey.
In an email to the probe agency on Sunday, Soren alleged that the ED’s actions were “motivated by political agenda” to disrupt the state government’s functioning and claimed that its insistence to record his statement again on or before January 31 “reeked of malice”.
“Preserve video recording of seven-hour questioning (of January 20) to make available to the court of law,” Soren said in the email. He also agreed to record his statement in Ranchi on January 31.
The federal agency questioned Soren on January 20, and later issued a fresh summons, asking him to confirm his availability for questioning on either January 29 or January 31.
The official sources have said that they have seized Rs 36 lakh, a BMW SUV and some “incriminating” documents during the search operations at his house in the national capital on Monday.
“I reside in your hearts,” he told reporters in Ranchi after paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary. He was replying to a query regarding his absence.
“We all are committed to following the footsteps and ideologies of the Father of the Nation. We are proud that such people were born among us and guided us,” he added.
Security beefed up in Ranchi
Earlier in the day, state Governor CP Radhakrishnan, who has repeatedly expressed displeasure over the “deteriorating law and order” in the state, called Chief Secretary Lalbiaktluanga Khiangte, and Director General of Police Ajay Kumar Singh at the Raj Bhavan to take stock of the situation.
After the meeting, the DGP said elaborate security arrangements have been made across the state to maintain law and order, including the deployment of an additional 7,000 policemen. Prohibitory orders were imposed in key areas of Ranchi, including near the CM House, the Raj Bhavan and the ED office at Doranda, from 10 am to 10 pm, officials said.
BJP, JMM trade charges over alleged corruption
Meanwhile, JMM and the BJP leaders engaged in a verbal duel with the opposition party in the state claiming that Soren was “missing” for several hours after going to Delhi and the Congress and JMM alleging that the saffron camp was spreading rumours about Soren.
JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya asked, “When the state chief minister Hemant Soren called the ED Directorate to record his statement on January 31, why did they reach his official residence in Delhi yesterday.”
Commenting on ED’s claim that it had recovered Rs 36 lakh during the search on Monday, Bhattacharya accused the ED and BJP state president Babulal Marandi of “planning” it.
“They are treating him like a criminal but I would like to make it clear that our CM is not afraid of anyone,” he asserted.
Citing the ED’s recovery of cash from Soren’s residence, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey wondered if the chief minister has been hiding his “billions” of rupees after going “missing” for 50 hours.
In a swipe at the JMM leader, the Godda MP also claimed that his father Shibu Soren had also gone missing for 21 days while being a Union minister and that the son has imbibed some of his attributes. The BJP has also been claiming that Soren wants his wife to become state chief minister in the event of his arrest, a claim that has been dismissed by him.
What is the case?
The ED has so far arrested 14 people in the case, including 2011-batch IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan who served as the director of the state’s Social Welfare Department and deputy commissioner of Ranchi. An employee of the Jharkhand land revenue department, Bhanu Prasad Prasad, was also arrested by the agency in the case. The ED investigation pertains to “huge amounts of proceeds of crime generated by manipulation of official records by showing dummy sellers and purchasers in the guise of forged/ bogus documents to acquire huge parcels of land having value in crores”.