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HomeDelhiJharkhand CM Hemant Soren's Midnight Departure Amidst Ongoing ED Probe

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren’s Midnight Departure Amidst Ongoing ED Probe

Abhinit Kumar

New Delhi: In a dramatic turn of events, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has reportedly left his official residence in Delhi at midnight, just hours before an Enforcement Directorate (ED) team arrived on Monday morning. The ED is investigating Soren in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam.Sources from the probe agency disclosed that Soren, who has avoided ED summons on nine occasions, was not present when the team reached his residence at 7 am. The ED is currently working to trace his whereabouts.Soren had initially consented to be questioned by the ED on January 31, according to sources close to the Jharkhand Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). Despite skipping previous summonses, it was anticipated that Soren would make himself available for questioning this time.The ED team had earlier requested Soren’s cooperation between January 27 and 31.

However, in the absence of an official response, a fresh letter-cum-summons was issued to the 48-year-old politician, indicating a renewed attempt to complete the pending questioning.The ED had recorded Soren’s statement on January 20 during an approximately seven-hour visit to his official residence in Ranchi. The statement was taken under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and fresh summons were issued as the questioning remained incomplete that day.Soren, also the executive president of the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), has accused the BJP-led central government of orchestrating the probe agencies to destabilize his government in Jharkhand, providing a rationale for his repeated non-compliance with ED summons.Earlier this month, the ED had conducted raids on the premises of Soren’s press advisor, officials in Sahibganj district, and a former MLA as part of a broader money laundering investigation into alleged illegal mining in the state. The probe, initiated in 2022, is scrutinizing a trail of Rs 100 crore of “proceeds of crime” linked to illegal mining operations in Jharkhand.To date, the ED has arrested 14 individuals in connection with the case, including the 2011-batch IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan, who served as the director of the state’s Social Welfare Department and deputy commissioner of Ranchi. The ongoing investigation continues to unravel the complexities surrounding the alleged financial irregularities in the state.

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