‘Missing’ Hemant Soren appears in Ranchi, chairs session with ruling alliance MLAs

| Updated: 31 January, 2024 1:10 pm IST

NEW DELHI : Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren chose the road over the skies, making a 1,200km journey back to Ranchi as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) kept tabs on Delhi airport in an effort to locate him. The 48-year-old leader of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) arrived in Ranchi early Tuesday, quickly convening a meeting with ruling alliance lawmakers at the CM House to discuss the state’s current political scenario.

Photos and videos from Soren’s office showed a warm welcome from a considerable number of MLAs and ministers, with his wife, Kalpana Soren, also in attendance.

READ MORE: Why have farmers in France and Europe taken to streets in protest?

Notably absent from his south Delhi residence when ED officials arrived at 7 am on Monday, the agency carried out a thorough search, spending almost 13 hours at the Shanti Niketan property. The search yielded around ₹36 lakh in cash, a BMW SUV suspected to be registered under a benami name in Haryana, and relevant documents.

According to media reports, Soren’s associates clarified that he was in the vicinity of Delhi for legal consultations, emphasising that ED’s intervention was unnecessary as he had already responded to their inquiries.

Following ED’s summons for further questioning in the money laundering probe, Soren communicated that he would make himself available on January 31 at 1 pm at his residence. His arrival at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Friday sparked speculation about his departure via a private charter plane, which remains grounded at the airport. The ED team stationed at the airport in anticipation of his flight back to Ranchi continues its vigil.

The central agency’s investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) focuses on Soren’s alleged involvement in a land scam related to a 7.16-acre parcel in the Bajra area of Ranchi. The acquisition of this land, allegedly funded through the illegal sale of army land, forms the core of the probe. Soren has dismissed the charges as politically motivated, asserting that the details of his assets are public.

In connection with this case, the ED has apprehended 14 individuals, including Chhavi Ranjan, a 2011-batch IAS officer, and businessmen Amit Agrawal and Bishnu Agrawal, who own shopping malls in Ranchi.

Also Read Story

AAP accuses Delhi BJP MPs of demolishing slums, houses

Train derailment in UP’s Gonda leaves four dead, dozens injured

Two terrorists killed in Kupwara encounter

Two Army personnel injured in Doda encounter