NEW DELHI: Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren skipped another summons by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday in relation to a money laundering case.
As per reports, this is the second time that CM Soren has failed to turn up at the agency’s office for questioning in the case, which pertains to purchase of land for the Indian Army.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morch (JMM) leader is said to have filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the ED summons.
An earlier summons had been issued for August 14, but Soren did not join the questioning due to his commitments related to Independence Day preparations.
In response, Soren had criticized the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for deliberately choosing August 14, stating, “It is not surprising to see that I have been summoned on the date of 14th August.”
“You and your political masters are fully aware that being the chief minister of the stat, I am scheduled to hoist the national flag on the occasion of the 77th Independence Day of the Republic of India on 15th August 2023,” as written in his letter.
CM Soren, like many other leaders of the anti-BJP I.N.D.I.A. bloc, has accused the Central investigative agencies of unfairly targeting leaders of non-NDA parties.
In the past, Soren said that he had already provided all necessary information regarding his and his family members’ movable and immovable properties, certified copies of title deeds, and bank account details during the last round of questioning in November last year.
Central agencies have arrested two IAS officers, believed to be close to the chief minister, have been recently arrested in connection alleged corruption cases.
The first, Pooja Singal, a 2000 batch IAS officer, was arrested in May 2022 for alleged involvement in money laundering and misappropriation of MGNREGA funds during her tenure as Khunti deputy commissioner in 2009-2010. The agency also recovered Rs 19 crore from a chartered accountant allegedly linked to Singal.
Chhavi Ranjan was the second IAS officer to have been arrested for illegal purchase and sale of land, including land owned by the Indian Army in Ranchi.
The ED had previously arrested Pankaj Mishra, a close associate of Soren, in connection with a case of alleged illegal mining. Mishra is currently in judicial custody.