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Illegal mining case: Hemant Soren seeks preponement of questioning, ED rejects appeal

Illegal mining case: Hemant Soren seeks preponement of questioning, ED rejects appeal

Illegal mining case: Hemant Soren seeks preponement of questioning, ED rejects appeal
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By Shankar Anand  Nov 15, 2022 12:38:58 PM IST (Published)

In a letter to the ED, Hemant Soren had asked the probe agency to prepone his questioning to November 16 instead of November 17, which was earlier fixed in the agency's second summon.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) rejected Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren's request to prepone his questioning in connection with the illegal mining case.

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In a letter to the ED, Soren had asked the probe agency to prepone his questioning to November 16 instead of November 17, which was earlier fixed in the agency's second summon. The Jharkhand Chief Minister cited some of his important meetings and busy schedules as the reason for the preponement.
ED sources said there are many technical difficulties in accepting this appeal at present, and therefore, that appeal has been rejected by the investigating agency.
Now, Soren will appear before the ED in Ranchi on November 17 for questioning in a money laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining in the state.
What ED found in the investigation
In the chargesheet, the ED stated that 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".
Among other items seized by the ED were "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 charge sheet.
Forty-seven search operations have been conducted and cash worth Rs 5.34 crore has been seized, bank balances worth Rs 13.32 crore have been frozen and an inland water vessel worth Rs 30 crore has been seized.
"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.
"Some banking documents and cheques that purportedly bore the name of the chief minister were also recovered from the searched premises," officials had said.
What is ED probing
The action was initiated after the ED filed a case under the PMLA Soren's political aide Pankaj Mishra and others in March, alleging that the former "illegally grabbed or amassed huge assets in his favour".
It took cognisance of a state police FIR filed against Mishra at Barharwa police station in Sahibganj district and some other police complaints filed in the illegal mining trade instances under various sections of the Arms Act, and Explosive Substances Act, among others.
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.
JMM organises protest
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha Party (JMM) decided to organise protest marches and rallies in Ranchi on November 16 and November 17 in protest against Soren's questioning.
Following the protest calls, the ED wrote a letter to the Director General of Police (DGP) of Jharkhand, demanding proper security and maintenance of law and order outside the ED office. A large number of police forces and paramilitary forces are expected to be deployed on November 16 and November 17.
(With inputs from PTI)
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