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Illegal mining case: Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren at ED office amid JMM protests — what’s happened so far

Illegal mining case: Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren at ED office amid JMM protests — what’s happened so far

Illegal mining case: Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren at ED office amid JMM protests — what’s happened so far
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By CNBCTV18.com Nov 17, 2022 12:44:18 PM IST (Updated)

Reacting to the ED summon in illegal mining case, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren said: "I'm a CM, manner in which summoning is being done makes it look like we're people who flee the country." He also hit out at the BJP and said that every conspiracy hatched against him will be thwarted.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren appeared before the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday in connection with a money laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining in the state. Soren reached the ED office in Ranchi amid a protest by (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) JMM workers.

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Meanwhile, visuals shared by news agency ANI showed JMM workers gathering in support of Soren at Morabadi ground. One of the supporters launched a scathing attack on the BJP-led central government and said, "The (Narendra) Modi government always betrays non-BJP states. Our CM said if he's guilty he should be arrested. Still the ED sent summon. Another supporter said the chief minister "is doing good work so he is being trapped."
In the wake of the protests, barricades were placed and adequate forces were deployed at locations from Morabadi ground to Ratu, Sahjanand chowk, Harmu, Agora chowk, Birsa chowk and Hinoo chowk. "Traffic diversions were done wherever necessary, especially on the airport route," Ranchi DC said ahead of the CM joining the ED probe in an illegal mining case.
Ranchi city SP Anshuman Kumar said, "We're making all arrangements, keeping in mind everything. We'll try to control all kinds of situations, whatever they may be. Whatever it is, the situation will be under control."
ED grills Hemant Soren
Hemant Soren, who appeared before the ED on Thursday, had written to the federal probe agency earlier seeking to advance the date of appearance to November 16. The ED had then rejected his appeal.
The JMM leader was initially summoned by the ED on November 3, but he did not depose citing official engagements. He had then sought a three-week deferment of the summons. The CM was asked to appear at the ED office on Thursday for questioning and recording of his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Reacting to the ED summon in illegal mining case, Soren was quoted by ANI as saying: "I'm a CM, manner in which summoning is being done makes it look like we're people who flee the country." He, however, added that agencies should come to a concrete conclusion only after a detailed probe.
On Wednesday, Soren slammed the BJP and said that every conspiracy hatched against him will be thwarted. “by crook, they want to remove me from power. I will foil their conspiracy," he was quoted by PTI as saying.
What happened in the case so far
  1. The agency has arrested Soren's political aide Pankaj Mishra and two others - local muscleman Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash - in connection with the illegal mining case.
  2. The ED said it has "identified" proceeds of crime relating to illegal mining in the state to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore till now.
  3. The ED began its investigation after it raided Mishra and his alleged associates on July 8. The agency covered 19 locations in Sahibganj, Barhait, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwa in Jharkhand.
  4. Forty-seven search operations were conducted and cash worth Rs 5.34 crore was seized, bank balances worth Rs 13.32 crore were frozen and an inland water vessel worth Rs 30 crore was also seized.
  5. According to ED, the investigation revealed that Mishra, “who enjoys political clout, being the representative of the chief minister, MLA from Barhait, Sahibganj, Jharkhand, controls the illegal mining businesses as well as inland ferry services in Sahibganj and its adjoining areas through his accomplices."
  6. The Ed claimed to have recovered "some banking documents and cheques that purportedly bore the name of the chief minister," officials had said. In the chargesheet, the ED said it recovered "a sealed envelope containing a passbook and two cheque books containing two signed cheques, all pertaining to A/c...in the name of Shri Hemant Soren held with Bank of India, Sahibganj".
  7. The ED had seized "one yellow colour file marked as April 2019 to June 2022 having all bank details of Hemant Soren" and his family members, the agency said in the chargesheet. "Five stone crushers, two trucks and two AK 47 assault rifles (these weapons were later claimed by Jharkhand police as its own) have also been seized till now," the ED said.
  8. A second instance where cash linked to alleged illegal mining in the state was unearthed pertains to the ED action against suspended Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Pooja Singhal in May. Singhal, who was holding the charge of Jharkhand mining secretary, was suspended by the state government following her arrest by the ED. Suman Kumar, a chartered accountant linked to Singhal and her husband, was also arrested by the agency and cash amounting to Rs 19.76 crore was seized by it.
  9. (With inputs from agencies, News 18)
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