Saturday, September 30, 2023

Hemant Soren challenges ED summons, Supreme Court to Hear case today

Himalayan Paths

New Delhi: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Sunday approached the Supreme Court challenging summons by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case. The Chief Minister had last month confronted the federal agency asking it to withdraw the summon against him or else he would take legal action. The top court will hear his case today.
Hemant Soren has been summoned by the ED for September 23.

“Centre is using ED to target opposition leaders who are not towing the lines of the government and this targeting has picked up pace with the date of General Elections fast approaching and the formation of the Opposition alliance INDIA against the ruling NDA”, Soren has contended in his petition.
“The repeated summoning under the garb of investigation under the PMLA of the properties owned, possessed and occupied by the Petitioner and the source of its acquisition, which information and material is already in the possession of the ED and with the Central Bureau of Investigation is nothing but a ruse to harass, browbeat and intimidate at the behest of the Central government and a complete misuse of the powers by the ED,” it said.

The Central probe agency had last month asked Soren to join its investigation in the case. The Chief Minister had then in a letter to the Central probe agency said that he has provided all necessary documents and information. If the ED needs any information, it can refer to the documents, he added.
Hemant Soren is being investigated over allegations of money laundering linked to an illegal mining case in Jharkhand’s Sahebganj district.

The Chief Minister, who is also in charge of the state Mining Ministry, has been accused of violating election rules by giving himself a mining lease in 2021.
Soren has, however, denied any wrongdoing and alleged a larger conspiracy to “harass a tribal leader”. He said that central agencies are targeting him because he is not aligning with the central government.

The Chief Minister has also mentioned that he has provided the details of his movable and immovable assets to CBI in an enquiry directed by Lokpal against his father Shibu Soren in 2020. ED may obtain the details from CBI.

Last year, the Chief Minister skipped the ED’s summons in November and went to Chhattisgarh to attend a dance festival instead. Speaking about his decision to skip his questioning and attend the festival that was scheduled in advance, Soren objected to what he alleged was a short notice from the probe agency to appear. “Are we thieves or anti-socials?” he asked.

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