ED summons Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren in money laundering, illegal mining case
The Enforcement Directorate has summoned Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren for questioning on November 3 in relation to a money laundering case that is linked to alleged illegal mining in the state. “The CM has been asked to appear before the investigating officer on Thursday for questioning. Some facts have been revealed during our investigations against his aide Pankaj Mishra which need to be verified,” an ED official said.
The three accused named by ED are – Mishra, his associate Bacchu Yadav, and Prem Prakash who allegedly laundered the proceeds gained through illegal mining. ED has also said in its complaint that “the accused were party to activities relating to acquisition, possession, use, concealment, and projection of the proceeds of crime as untainted”.
Mishra, a close aid of CM Soren and his MLA representative in the Barhait Assembly constituency was arrested by the ED this year in July. Following that the agency had filed prosecution complaint (that is equivalent to a chargesheet) against him and two others in the case. Following that in September, the agency informed Ranchi’s special court that it has detected illegal mining of stones that is found to be worth more than Rs 1,000 crore in Sahibganj district and adjoining areas of Jharkhand, which are all controlled by Mishra. The ED also mentioned in its prosecution complaint to a Prevention of Money Laundering Act court, that “Mishra was also in control of the installation of crushers and had a fixed share in almost all mines and transportation of material”.
Mr. Soren, 47, has been asked by ED to appear before the federal probe agency at its office in the State capital Ranchi on Thursday, November 3. “The agency wants to question and record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA),” they said. The agency has shared that up until now it has “identified proceeds of crimes relating to illegal mining in the State to the tune of more than ₹1,000 crore”.