ED has accused ex CM Hemant Soren of indulging in hampering and frustrating the evidence linked with proceeds of crime.

It was part of his blatant misuse of power in hiding the evidence linked to land in Ranchi he had acquired and kept it under his possession to build a banquet hall. 

ED described it as ‘acute non-cooperation and reluctance to divulge true facts regarding the properties he acquired and other persons connected to him. The ED today submitted before the PMLA court 201 pages of WhatsApp chats between Soren and his friend/architect Binod Singh. 

A quick study of these WhatsApp chats revealed that these contain information regarding proposed structures over 8.5 acres of land in Bariatu near DAV School, where Soren was allegedly trying to acquire illegally. 

On the basis of these facts the ED sought four days’ remand, arguing that it further needs time for the scrutiny of these WhatsApp chats between him and Binod Sigh. 

As of now, theseWhatsApp chats led to the identification of a plan/map of a proposed banquet shared by Binod Singh to Hemant Soren on April 6,2021. 

Notably, the location of the proposed banquet mentioned in these chats matches with the said 8.5 acres of land, which was “illegally acquired and possessed by Hemant Soren,” it added. However, the ED’s PMLA court granted three days more to question Soren. 

Soren was produced in court today when his 10-day custody, initially granted to the ED on February 5, ended.As it is, Soren was arrested on January 31 for illegally acquiring 8.5 acres of land in Ranchi. 

The central agency submitted that it had carried a survey on February 10 in the presence of the officials of the Circle Office, Baragai, Anchal Ameen, Binod Singh, and Bhanu Pratap Prasad. 

ED added that it has been corroborated that the locality of the banquet hall, as per the plan shared by Binod Singh, and the area of 8.5 acres of land acquired by Hemant Soren, under investigation, are the same. 

Also, there is no such big parcel of land available in the said locality where such a big structure can be planned for construction,” it added. 

Also ED complained that Soren was not producing the mobile phone though it had requested him to produce it as he had conversations and chats with Binod Singh.  

“However, he has submitted frivolous reasons for not producing his mobile to conceal information associated with the properties acquired and possessed by him, which are nothing but proceeds of crime,” the ED said in its remand paper.  

Notably,the ED sought Soren’s custodial interrogation for investigation of the properties that were freshly identified during his custody and to identify the trail of funds linked to them. 

Besides, the ED also wants to confront Soren with the contents of the materials available in WhatsApp chats, the findings and outcome of the investigation in this case and the statements of other witnesses. 

It also wants to confront Hemant Soren with the outcome of searches and surveys conducted after his arrest in this case. 539-page WhatsApp chat On February 7, the ED brought a litany of charges into the public domain. 

These charges involved misusing his position not only to acquire the proceeds of crime but also to destroy the evidence to conceal the proceeds of crime. Corrupt practices Earlier, the ED brought to the court’s notice a 539-page WhatsApp chat between Binod Singh and Soren.

“These WhatsApp chats not only include the exchange of confidential information regarding several properties but other incriminating information relating to transfer posting, sharing of government records, etc., out of which huge amounts of money appear to have been generated and transacted,” it said.

“In addition to this, Binod Singh has WhatsApp chats with several other persons about transfer posting of officials, possession and sharing of several admit cards of students appearing for competitive exams held by the Jharkhand Staff Selection Commission,” the ED stated. 

Clearly, the ED has accused ex CM Soren of tempering evidence and stated that after issuing the first summons to illegally acquire 8.5 acres of land in Bariatu near DAV School,he had indulged in “blatant misuse of power in hampering and frustrating the evidence linked to this case.”

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