Enforcement Directorate has moved Jharkhand High Court seeking a CBI probe into the then CM Hemant Soren’s move to lodge an FIR against its officers hours before his arrest in money laundering linked with the land scam. 

The court is expected to hear ED’s plea soon. “ The plea is registered for hearing”, said a lawyer on condition of anonymity. 

The then CM Hemant Soren in his FIR filed at Gonda police station on January 31, a day before he was arrested by the ED on February 1 had accused four ED officials including its additional director Kapil Raj of multiple violations of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.  

Apart from Kapil Raj, three other ED officers who figured in Soren’s FIR were -Deovrat Jha, Anupam Kumar and Aman Patel, apart from other unnamed ED officials of violating the atrocity law. 

Soon after lodging FIR, Soren had removed IAS officer Avinash Kumar as the Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department of the Jharkhand government on today (January 31. Buzz in a section of public was that Soren wanted the Hone Secretary Avinash Kumar to take note of his FIR and arrest these ED officers. 

Since Kumar did not abide by his decision, he was removed from the post of Home Secretary. Now, the ED wants the court to order CBI to investigate the entire episode - reasons behind the FIR and transfer of Home Secretary Avinash Kumar.  

Notably, the then CM Hemant Soren’s FIR complaint had come against the backdrop of speculation that ED might arrest him in connection with the central agency’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act probe against Soren relating to the ownership of a parcel of land measuring around 8.5 acres in Bargain area of Ranchi. 

It has been alleged that the land parcel was acquired through proceeds of crime involving the illegal sale of army land. Soren who is in jail on ED’s charges of money laundering linked with the illegal possession of the above land has dismissed the case as politically motivated and said the details of his assets were in the public domain. 

Notably, the ED has arrested 14 persons in the case, including 2011 batch Indian Administrative Service officer Chhavi Ranjan, who served as director of the state’s social welfare department, deputy commissioner of Ranchi, Bhanu Pratap Prasad, and businessmen Amit Agrawal and Bishnu Agrawal, who own shopping malls in the state capital. 

Soren’s FIR by Soren was registered under Section 3 (1) (p),(r), (s) and (u) of the SC/ST atrocity law which are punishable on conviction with a minimum jail term of six months and a maximum of five years. 

These provisions relate to instituting false, malicious or vexatious suit or criminal proceedings against Scheduled Tribe (ST) members (p), intentionally insulting or intimidating with intent to humiliate ST members in any place within public view (r), abusing any member of ST by caste name in any place within public view (s) and attempting to promote feelings of enmity against ST members by words spoken or written or by any visible representation (u). Soren himself is ST.

If the CBI inquiry is conducted, the Ex-CM Hemant Soren will face the charge of making an attempt to arrest these ED officers on false and a planned fake case of Section 3 (1) (p),(r), (s) and (u) of the SC/ST atrocity law.


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