Hemant Soren replies to ED two days after deadline, says probe ‘biased’ - Hindustan Times

Hemant Soren replies to ED two days after deadline, says probe ‘biased’

By, Ranchi
Jan 02, 2024 09:55 PM IST

The federal agency had served the Jharkhand CM its seventh summon, after he skipped the first six summons in a money laundering probe

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren sent his reply to the directorate of enforcement (ED) on Tuesday, two days after the deadline given by the federal agency to respond to its seventh summon to him, alleging that the agency was conducting a “biased” investigation, people familiar with the development said.

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren meets his father Shibu Soren in Ranchi on Tuesday. (ANI)
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren meets his father Shibu Soren in Ranchi on Tuesday. (ANI)

“He has raised questions on the investigation saying it is biased and that a media trial was being done to malign his image. He has neither expressed any willingness to appear for questioning nor has he sought time or new date for it,” said a senior ED official, who didn’t wish to be named.

The official, however, declined to speak about the agency’s future course of action.

The ED had, on December 29, served its seventh summon to Soren, asking him to decide by December 21 the date, time and place for questioning in connection with an ongoing money laundering case related to fraudulent sale of land parcels.

The 48-year-old Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader had been asked by the agency to inform the investigating officer of the case about his decision by, failing which the ED will initiate further legal action under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

“Since you have not come to the office of the Directorate of Enforcement in obedience to the summonses issued to you, we are giving you this last opportunity to record your statement under section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, at the place, date and time, mutually convenient to you as well as the undersigned (ED), which should be within 7 days of receipt of this notice/Summons,” the ED said in the summons issued on Friday.

“Despite the issuance of six summonses, you (Hemant Soren) have not appeared before this office, citing unfounded reasons. This non-appearance is impeding and hindering the progress of the investigation in the present case,” the summons added.

The chief minister, however, chose not to respond within the fixed deadline. On Tuesday, an official from the chief minister’s office visited the ED’s zonal office and handed over a sealed envelope to the authorities. “I am unaware of the letter’s content,” the unidentified CMO official told reporters outside.

The federal agency has previously summoned the chief minister for questioning at its zonal office in Ranchi on August 14, August 24, September 9, September 23, October 4 and December 12. However, the JMM leader has never appeared before the agency, citing different reasons.

The JMM leader has in the past termed the summons “politically motivated” — a charge the federal agency has rejected. He has also approached the Supreme Court and then the Jharkhand high court seeking protection from the ED action, terming the summons “unwarranted”. Both the courts dismissed his petitions.

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