Responding to the ED’s summon asking him to appear before it in connection with an ongoing land scam investigation, Chief Minister Hemant Soren is expected to seek time to abide by its order.
This is mainly because of the time fixed by the ED for questioning him just a day before Independence Day August 15 when he is slated to unfurl the national flag in Dumka.
“ The CM is examining the pros and cons of the ED summon. We will let the media know about it”, said an officer close to CM Soren who is busy organising the Adivasi Mahotsav on August 9-10.
In fact, the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday summoned Jharkhand CM Soren requiring his presence for questioning on August 14 in connection with an ongoing land scam investigation.
This move of the central agency follows a previous inquiry in 2022, during which the ED had interrogated Soren for approximately 10 hours on November 18, 2022, regarding his alleged involvement in an illegal mining case, specifically related to stone mining.
The summons comes in the wake of a significant mining scam, with allegations of financial irregularities amounting to approximately Rs 1000 crore. The ED has recently apprehended one of Soren's close aides, Pankaj Mishra, as part of their ongoing investigation into the matter.
In anticipation of the summons, Soren had penned an open letter to ED assistant director Deovrat Jha, expressing his concerns and challenging the probe agency's assertions.
The letter, issued on November 17 last year, condemned what Soren deemed "sensational statements" made by the ED regarding a purported illegal mining scam amounting to Rs 1000 crore. Soren articulated that such claims should be substantiated by facts and figures, especially given the extensive investigations carried out by the agency over the course of nearly a year.
The Chief Minister had also questioned the motives behind his summons, asserting his commitment to eradicating illegal mining in Jharkhand while expressing skepticism about the clarity of purpose behind the ED's actions.
Soren further raised suspicions about the involvement of political rivals, particularly former JMM treasurer Ravi Kejriwal, who he suggested may have sought to falsely implicate him in the alleged illegal mining activity. Kejriwal's previous association with the JMM party and subsequent disputes had led to a strained relationship between the two, as mentioned in Soren's letter.
“……………It does not befit the ED to make sensational statements of illegal mining of Rs 1000 crore without ascertaining the facts and figures and that too after carrying out some 50 raids in an investigation going on for almost a year. I hope and trust that you will reconsider your claims and refrain from making sensational statements that are unsubstantiated by any facts or figures as such reckless statements not only tarnish the reputation of concerned state departments and personnel but the image of the state of Jharkhand suffers,” one of the paragraphs of the letter reads.