Thursday, December 1, 2022

Hemant calls allegation against him in mining scam as conspiracy to disturb government 

CM shares letter of rebuttal to ED claims of Rs 1000 Cr illegal mining in Sahibganj

Ranchi, November 17: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who reached the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office on Thursday for questioning in connection with an alleged money laundering case related to illegal mining in Sahibganj district, rebutted the agency’s claims and said that the probe against him was a “conspiracy” to destablise his government.

Speaking to media at Ranchi before leaving for ED office said that ED has summoned as if he was leaving the country. He also alleged that the Governor by keeping silent on the EC recommendation is also trying to help the opposition BJP in disturbing his government.

The ED had informed a special court in Ranchi in September that it had detected illegal mining of stones worth more than Rs 1,000 crore in Sahibganj district and adjoining areas of Jharkhand, all controlled by Soren’s representative Pankaj Mishra, who has been arrested.

In his letter addressed to the ED assistant director, Soren said that all the rakes, trucks and barges available in Sahibganj could “not have possibly transported 8 crore metric tonnes” of stone, which is required to be illegally mined to cause a loss of Rs 1,000 crore to the state exchequer in two years.

Soren wrote that in order to “evade royalty of Rs 1,000 crore in two years”, 33 lakh trucks or more than 20,000 train rakes would be needed to transport “8 crore metric tonnes of stone”, which he alluded was impossible. The letter also said that to transport 8 crore metric tonnes of illegally mined stone, 4,500 trucks would be required every day for two years, whereas Sahibganj has only about 800 registered trucks.

“It appears that you have not identified the loading of even a single rake without requisite challan as you have not taken action against any railway officer. You claim that approximately 6,500 rakes loaded stone in Sahibganj district during the past two years. Even if all these 6,500 rakes loaded only illegally mined stone, which cannot be the case, they would not be sufficient to transport the total quantity of 8 crore MT of illegally mined stone which would fetch royalty of Rs 1,000 crore,” Soren’s letter to the ED said.

Soren also referred to the ED’s claim that there were a few ghats in Sahibganj from where illegally mined stone was transported by barges. “Apart from the impossibility of transportation, where are the crushers and ancillary logistics like tippers etc in Sahibganj to carry out illegal mining of 4 crore MT of stone every year when legal mining is approximately 1 crore metric tonnes every year? By no stretch of imagination can it be contended that infrastructure and logistics used for carrying out mining of 1 crore MT of legal mining can be used to carry out 4 crore metric tonnes of illegal mining,” he said.

Addressing the media earlier, Soren denied the allegations against him and called it a “conspiracy”.

 “This is beyond my understanding how the Rs 1,000 crore illegal mining figure was reached. The allegations are not possible at all. I am in a constitutional post, and the way the summons are being issued, it seems politicians will leave the country…This is a conspiracy,” he said.

It also appears that the BJP, the main opposition party in the state, has caused statements to be given by Ravi Kejriwal to falsely implicate me in illegal mining. Ravi Kejriwal was a member of JMM and the treasurer of the party till he was removed in 2020. Subsequently, an FIR was also filed against him by JMM. Since then, Ravi Kejriwal has become my sworn enemy and I would not be surprised if he has made false allegations against me to settle personal scores,” Soren said in his letter.

The ED, Soren said, is expected to carry out its investigation in “a fair and impartial manner without any hidden agenda or motive”. “I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law and in order to discharge my duties as an honest citizen of this country, I shall attend at your office today in compliance with the summons issued to me,” Soren added.

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