Curated By: Saurabh Verma
Last Updated: January 29, 2024, 22:59 IST
The JMM issued a statement saying ED officers had reached Hemant Soren’s residence in Delhi in the early hours of January 29 with several armed personnel, “which did not seem as per the law”. (Photo: PTI file)
According to top sources in the ED, the car is an asset from the proceeds of crime. Soren uses this car in the national capital. The vehicle was searched by ED officials at approximately 8 pm
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized the vehicle of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who is “untraceable” allegedly due to the federal agency’s action in connection with a money laundering investigation in an alleged land fraud case.
According to top sources in the ED, the car is an asset from the proceeds of crime. Soren uses this BMW in the national capital. The vehicle was searched by ED officials at approximately 8 pm.
Sources said the last known location of Soren is the premises of a senior advocate. Private charter is still at Delhi airport and agencies believe that he is still in the national capital.
The scheduled raids and questioning by the Enforcement Directorate of Hemant Soren, the chief minister of Jharkhand, unfolded in a dramatic manner from the early hours of Monday with the CM now “untraceable”, News18 has learnt from sources.
Soren left his residence around 2.30 am along with one of his security personnel, while another senior police officer who is part of his protective detail took a flight back to Ranchi. Mobile phones of the chief minister and his security personnel were switched off, while his family members, the CM’s office, and his colleagues in the cabinet and party expressed “ignorance” about his whereabouts to the ED.
The central agency is now looking for the chief minister and his aide, while BJP leaders in Ranchi are mulling a habeas corpus petition before the High Court, said sources in the party. Even though the investigation by the ED in Jharkhand has now taken a sensational turn with the chief minister “missing”, this is not the only drama that happened during the investigation.
The ED summoned the CM seven times in connection with stone mining and land scam cases. Soren appeared earlier this month, while he was scheduled to appear before the agency again on January 31. However, his party workers have been protesting across the state since Sunday against the ED action.
Why Such Hurry, Soren’s Party Asks
The JMM issued a statement saying ED officers had reached Hemant Soren’s residence in Delhi in the early hours of January 29 with several armed personnel, “which did not seem as per the law”.
“What was the hurry that ED’s officers could not even wait for two days? Isn’t this an insult of a democratically-elected CM? Can the Centre do anything with chief ministers of states when they are in Delhi? ” the JMM asked in a statement, citing Soren’s earlier letter to the ED that he would appear before it on January 31.
But the Jharkhand unit of the BJP claimed that the chief minister has been “absconding” for the last 18 hours, fearing action of the ED, and urged Governor C P Radhakrishnan to take cognisance of the matter as the “credibility and reputation of Jharkhand are at stake”.
The ED had questioned Soren at his official residence in Ranchi on January 20 in the case and had issued a fresh summons to him asking him to confirm his availability for questioning on either January 29 or January 31, the official sources said, adding Soren had sent a communication to the agency but had not confirmed the date and time for questioning.
In an email to the federal agency on Sunday, the 48-year-old JMM executive president alleged that the ED actions were “motivated by political agenda” to disrupt the state government’s functioning and claimed that its insistence to record his statement again on or before January 31 reeked of malice.
“Preserve video recording of seven-hour questioning (of January 20) to make available to the court of law,” Soren said in the email while agreeing to record his statement on January 31 at the Ranchi residence.
Officials of the federal probe agency accompanied by Delhi Police personnel reached the 5/1 Shanti Niketan building in South Delhi around 9 am and were still there after 9 pm, while several media teams stood outside.
(With PTI inputs)