Is he guilty really?
No, says the ruling JMM.“ It’s the BJP’s plan to destabilise the (Soren) government. The charge against him is false as he had already declared it before the ECI that a stone mine was owned by him”, says JMM spokesperson Suprio Bhattacharya.
This was countered by the opposition. “ If it is false, why he is not replying to the ECI’s query”, says BJP spokesperson Praful Shahdeo.
Amid Tutu Tu Mai Mai, there are deep clouds of uncertainty floating over the fate of the Hemant Soren government. In effect, in the corridors the state secretariat,files connected with “development projects” have almost come to a halt.
Investigation into Soren’s case brought into light these facts.
Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghuvar Das, in a press conference in February this year, had placed some documents, on the basis of which the incidents that happened are being discussed in the whole country today.Especially in Jharkhand, there is a war of words between the ruling and opposition benches and also among the bureaucrats.
In his press conference, Mr. Das had put forward some documents in which Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren was accused of misusing his office to obtain approval for the stone mines lease in Ranchi district for his own sake.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) had also asked Hemant Soren, the Chief Minister as well as, who held the post of Minister of Environment and Mining Department, Industry for his opinion on this matter.
Regarding the documents of the Mining Department, Das had alleged that this is a direct violation of various sections of the "Representation of the People Act." At the same time, he also said that charges can be made under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
During another press conference on 25 April, Mr. Das had alleged that 11 acres of industrial land was allotted to his wife while Hemant Soren held the post of the CM.
Documents filed on the portal of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Government of India) show that Soren had applied for approval of a mining lease on 0.88 acres in Angara block of Ranchi district.
The production in the mine was shown to be 6171 tonnes per annum and the estimated cost of the project was stated to be Rs 26 lakh. It was told that the proposed plan is for 5 years and the estimated life of the mine was also 5 years.
Documents related to the proceedings of the Angara Gram Panchayat show that Hemant Soren's application had reached the District Mining Officer (DMO) of Ranchi on 28 May 2021 for demand of lease.This application moved speedily.
On June 1, the DMO asked the circle officer (CO) of Angara to investigate.
Angara Gram Panchayat was convened on the 7th of June to agree on mining.
The special note to be considered is that on the same day, the Angara Block Development Officer (BDO) informed the DMO in writing that Gram Sabha has given consent for the mining lease.
On March 14, the agreement was signed between Hemant Soren and 9 people of the village. After this, on 16th June 2021, the DMO of Ranchi told that Ranchi Deputy Commissioner has issued a letter of intent in the order dated 15 June 2021, in which permission was given in principle for mining lease with certain conditions.
Documents show that the CM had sought environment clearance for the mine and the state department had approved it.
During the hearing in the case held on April 8th. Advocate General Rajeev Ranjan had said that the state had committed a mistake in granting permission for mining.He had said that there was a violation of the code of conduct here.
Ranjan had said that even though Hemant Soren had been involved in business while being chief minister, there was no statutory or constitutional violation. Later he had opined that Soren had "surrendered the lease and distanced himself from it on February 11, 2022".
However, the court considered the matter ‘serious’ and issued notice to Soren and the state to file an affidavit.
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya has claimed that the lease given to Soren was 'renewal' and the land taken on lease has been shown in several affidavits dedicated to the Election Commission of India (ECI).