In a mining case, the Enforcement Directorate summons the Chief Minister of Jharkhand.

Chief Minister of Jharkhand

The Enforcement Directorate has called Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren in connection with a money laundering investigation into an alleged mining fraud in the state.

The investigating agency has requested Hemant Soren to join the investigation at its regional office in Ranchi tomorrow.

Assistant to the Chief Minister Pankaj Mishra and two other people had already been taken into custody by the ED. The investigation agency conducted statewide raids in July, seizing Rs 11.88 crore from Mr. Mishra’s bank accounts before making the arrest. At his home, Rs 5.34 crore of “unaccounted” cash was also discovered.

Hemant Soren’s passbook and a few checks bearing his signature were apparently also found in Mr. Mishra’s home, the primary defendant in the case, by the ED. The ED alleged in its chargesheet that Pankaj Mishra, Hemant Soren’s political representative, “controls” illegal mining operations through his allies in the Chief Minister’s assembly district of Barhait.

Pankaj Mishra and two of his assistants, Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash, were included in the chargesheet. The ED has so far confiscated Rs 37 lakh while looking into a money trail that was allegedly left behind by illegal mining in the state.

Abhishek Prasad, Mr. Soren’s press secretary, was also questioned by the investigation agency in the matter in August. A case of office of profit is currently being brought against Mr. Soren for allegedly giving himself a mining lease in 2021.

According to reports, the Chief Minister has been recommended for disqualification after the BJP complained that he had broken election laws by giving himself a mining lease.

The BJP is allegedly attempting to utilise the current situation to recruit members of the ruling coalition to defect and overthrow the elected government, according to Mr. Soren and his party JMM.

Before making a decision, Governor Ramesh Bais has requested a “second opinion” in the matter.

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