The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday summoned Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren in a money laundering investigation related to an alleged mining scam in the state, reported PTI.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader has been called for questioning on Thursday at the Enforcement Directorate’s regional office in Ranchi.
In July, the central investigating agency had arrested Soren’s aide Pankaj Mishra in the case. Mishra was the central committee member of the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha besides being the Assembly representative of Soren.
Mishra was arrested after the Enforcement Directorate conducted searches at 19 locations, including his premises in Sahibganj and those linked to him in the state on July 8. Following the raids, the authorities had frozen deposits of Rs 11.88 crore lying in 37 bank accounts belonging to Mishra and others, reported the Hindustan Times.
The central agency said that it had recovered Rs 5.34 crore of unaccounted cash during the raids and claimed that the amounts were linked to illegal mining in the state.
In its chargesheet before a special court in Ranchi, the Enforcement Directorate has alleged that Mishra controls the illegal mining business in the chief minister’s Assembly constituency Barhait through his accomplices, reported NDTV.
“He exercises considerable control over the mining of stone chips and boulders as well as installation and operations of several crushers, set up across various mining sites in Sahibganj,” the chargesheet added.
Wednesday’s development came after last week Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais had said that he has sought a second opinion in the office-of-profit case against Soren.
The office-of-profit case pertains to a complaint filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party alleging that Soren allotted a mining lease in his own name while holding the mining portfolio. Media reports had said in August that the Election Commission has recommended Bais to disqualify Soren as an MLA. However, the recommendation was not made public and Bais did not take any action.