Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren skips ED summons citing busy schedule

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren summoned by Enforcement Directorate for questioning on August 14

On Monday (14 August) Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren did not appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the state capital, Ranchi. He skipped the ED summons for questioning in connection with an ongoing money laundering case that pertains to the fraudulent sale of land parcels. Citing a busy schedule, the Jharkhand CM has sought more time from the central agency, people aware of the development said.

According to media reports, a staff member from the Chief Minister’s Office came to the regional office of ED and submitted a sealed envelope. Speaking to the media, he claimed that he was not aware of the contents of the letter. 

However, a source said, “The CM in the letter alleged that he was being targeted for not being aligned with a political party at the Centre”. The source added that the CM has asked the central agency to withdraw the summons asserting that his assets are ‘licit’. 

However, neither the chief minister nor his office could confirm this. According to media reports, Jharkhand CM has conveyed to the ED that he was unable to visit their office owing to his ‘busy schedule’.

Speaking on the issue, a JMM leader said, “The chief minister has not sought any specific time period in response to the summon. In general, he has informed the agency that he can’t visit their office on August 14 due to his busy schedule in the next few weeks, including Independence Day celebrations, nomination, and campaigning for Dumri assembly by-elections. He is ready to otherwise cooperate in whatever other means they want to. If they send another summon, he would take a decision as per legal advice.”

Earlier, on the 8th of August, the ED had issued him a summon and asked him to depose before the ED office in the state capital. The agency called him for questioning in connection with a land scam case. 

Reportedly, his name was mentioned in the statements of businessman Vishnu Agarwal and Revenue Sub-Inspector of Bargain Circle Bhanu Pratap Prasad. He will be questioned in connection with the land in Bariatu.

While in ED custody, ED interrogated Vishnu Aggarwal who is the director of Nucleus Mall. During interrogation, he revealed the name of Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

The ED is currently probing more than a dozen land deals. These include the once related to defence land, wherein a group of mafia, middlemen, and bureaucrats allegedly colluded to fabricate deeds and documents as old as 1932. However, they were caught because of acting too clever by half. Later, it was found that those names of districts were written on the addresses of these documents that were curved out at some later years and many other such misdeeds. Around 13 accused, including suspended IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan, have been arrested in the case. 

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