Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren turns heat on former BJP ministers

Jharkhand CM approves preliminary enquiry by ACB into alleged disproportionate assets of former BJP ministers

| Updated: 26 July, 2023 12:31 am IST
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren himself is facing fresh summons from the ED in a money laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining in the state

PATNA, BIHAR: Jharkhand Chief minister Hemant Soren has given the green light to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to initiate a preliminary enquiry (PE) into allegations of disproportionate assets against five former BJP Ministers in the state.

The ACB had sought separate PEs against each of these former Ministers following confirmation of the allegations after an initial investigation, officials said.

The former Ministers under scrutiny – Amar Kumar Bauri, Randhir Kumar Singh, Dr Neera Yadav, Louis Marandi, and Neelkanth Singh Munda – were part of Raghubar Das’ cabinet during their tenure. Among them, four are currently BJP MLAs.

The decision to launch the preliminary enquiry came after the ACB registered an informative report based on their initial investigation. Subsequently, the ACB sought permission from the department to initiate separate PEs against the five former ministers. The department, after considering the ACB report, sought approval from the Chief Minister to proceed with the enquiries.

“On direction from the cabinet secretariat and vigilance department, the ACB registered an informative report. After conducting an initial investigation, the ACB sought permission from the department to register separate PEs against the five former ministers. Based on the ACB report, the department had sought permission from the chief minister,” officials said.

The state government’s move to investigate the alleged disproportionate assets was triggered by a public interest litigation filed by one Pankaj Kumar Yadav before the Jharkhand high court in 2020.

Notably, this development occurs at a time when the Jharkhand Chief minister himself is facing fresh summons from the Enforcement Directorate. He is required to appear in Ranchi on November 17 for questioning in a money laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining in the state.

In response to the ongoing enquiry, BJP’s Sarath legislator and former Agriculture Minister, Randhir Singh, accused the Chief Minister of indulging in political vendettas. He claimed that the investigation was an attempt to tarnish the image of the BJP. However, Singh asserted that he is not intimidated by any inquiry.

“The action is nothing but a political vendetta. Since the Chief Minister is facing corruption charges, he wants to malign the image of the BJP. But I am not scared of any inquiry,” Singh said.

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