Challenge BJP to prove graft charges against me: Soren - Hindustan Times
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Challenge BJP to prove graft charges against me: Soren

By, Ranchi
Feb 05, 2024 09:53 PM IST

Taking part in the confidence motion won by his successor Champai Soren in the assembly by a margin of 18 votes, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) executive president also alleged that the Raj Bhawan was instrumental in his arrest “after a conspiracy was hatched by the Centre”.

Former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, who is currently in remand of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on money laundering charges, challenged the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday to prove the corruption charges against him, emphasising that he would “quit politics if the accusations of owning ill-gotten land are proven”.

Hemant Soren challenged the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday to prove the corruption charges against him (PTI)
Hemant Soren challenged the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday to prove the corruption charges against him (PTI)

Taking part in the confidence motion won by his successor Champai Soren in the assembly by a margin of 18 votes, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) executive president also alleged that the Raj Bhawan was instrumental in his arrest “after a conspiracy was hatched by the Centre”.

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Champai took oath on February 2, two days after Hemant was formally arrested by the ED from Raj Bhawan, soon after he resigned as chief minister following hours-long questioning by the federal agency at his official residence.

“I have been arrested by ED for doing a scam of 8.5 acres of land. I challenge you (BJP) to come up with any document to prove that the land belongs to me. If proved, I will resign from politics,” said Soren.

Describing his arrest as a “black chapter in the history of Indian democracy”, Soren said, “A black night and a black chapter were added to the democracy of the country on the night of January 31. This is the first time in the country’s history that a chief minister or even a former CM was arrested inside the Raj Bhavan. I don’t remember if this has happened before or not. I feel Raj Bhawan has collaborated in this episode.”

“They have been planning this January 31 episode for a long time. They were cooking this up in a low flame for a long time. But this dish was not ready to be cooked. However, they served the half-cooked dish to themselves and arrested me. The way the episode has been planned has left me surprised because I come from a tribal family and am not well-versed in the rules and procedures...However, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong is there in every human and every animal,” the former chief minister added.

Being the only member to have spoken on behalf of the JMM during the confidence motion besides chief minister Champai Soren, the JMM leader alleged that the tribals and Dalits are not safe under the present regime in the country and they are being forced to shun their religion as BR Ambedkar was compelled to convert to Buddhism.

In his around 24-minute speech, Hemant alleged that the BJP considers Tribals “untouchables” and hence, except non-tribal BJP leader Raghubar Das, none of the other ten previous tribal chief ministers belonging to the saffron party or JMM could complete a full five-year term in the state formed in 2000.

“I knew they would do the same with me as well. However, I will not shed tears now. I will give a befitting reply to the feudal forces at an appropriate time... I will come back with more strength. When the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony at Ayodhya took place on January 22, the BJP had stated it would bring Ram Rajya. But the first thing they did after that was to destabilise the government in Bihar and Jharkhand.”

Reacting to the allegations, Leader of the Opposition Amar Bauri said the former CM was reaping what he had sown.

“It is for his doing that he had to go to jail. He might be a tribal leader but not necessarily the leader of the tribal community. Instead of asking us to prove the charges, he should take it up before the ED and court. As far as the allegation against Raj Bhawan and the subversion of institutions is concerned, they exposed themselves. The way they (the treasury bench) disturbed the proceedings during the governor’s address shows their trust in democracy. Whose speech was the governor reading? It was approved by their cabinet and the CMO and not the PMO. It showed they don’t have trust in their own government,” said Bauri.

Earlier, when the former chief minister reached the assembly, the ruling JMM-led alliance MLAs greeted him with slogans like ‘Hemant Soren zindabad’ and ‘Jai ‘Jharkhand.’

Hemant was allowed by a special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court to participate in the trust vote.

Soren was brought to the assembly under the watch of the ED, and CRPF was shifted to the assembly, from wherein the marshalls of the assembly took charge of the security. The ED and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were not allowed inside the assembly building.

Around half an hour after the House was adjourned, the ED took back the custody of Soren amidst sloganeering by his supporters.

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