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Jharkhand crisis: CM Hemant Soren says he is not resigning, asks MLAs not to believe in rumours

The Enforcement Directorate raided the premises of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren's press advisor, the officials of Sahibganj district and a former MLA as part of a money laundering probe into alleged illegal mining in the state, official sources said.

Edited By: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari Ranchi Updated on: January 03, 2024 22:00 IST
Hemant Soren, Jharkhand
Image Source : INDIA TV Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren during legislative party meeting.

Jharkhand Crisis: Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who held a crucial meeting with MLAs of the ruling alliance - Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress, RJD and others - at his residence in Ranchi on Wednesday, said that he will not resign from his post at any cost and asked lawmakers not to pay attention on social media rumours, sources said. The legislative meeting was attended by 43 MLAs.

MLA Pradeep Yadav, who attended the meeting, said that Hemant Soren is the Chief Minister today and will remain so in the future. Another MLA Anup Singh said that Soren will complete his tenure.

Congress MLA Irfan Ansari said, "...We are with Hemant Soren. He will remain CM for 25 years..." 

"...He has responded to the 7th summon sent by the ED... Since Hemant Soren has formed the government, they (BJP) have put in their all to dismiss the government. He has said he's ready to fight... There is no doubt that he will continue to be the CM of Jharkhand... The tense situation created by BJP was all a hoax...," said JMM MP Mahua Manjhi.

Speaking on the developing political situation, JMM spokesperson and General Secretary, Vinod Pandey said, "Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren has given his response to the last summon by ED...There is no plan B or plan C..."

The timing of the meeting sparked the speculation of a change in state leadership as a strong buzz is around that CM Soren may resign and handover the command to his wife Kalpana Soren amid ED raids taking place against his close aides in illegal mining cases.

Earlier today, ED conducted raids at several locations in the state, including in state capital Ranchi and a premise in Rajasthan, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The premises of Jharkhand CM's media advisor Abhishek Prasad alias Pintu, the collector of Sahibganj district, ex-MLA Pappu Yadav, an architect, some jail department officials and a police constable are being searched by the agency officials, sources said.

An armed escort of central security forces went along with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials. Prasad has been questioned by the ED in this case earlier. Sources said the action was undertaken on the receipt of fresh inputs in the case.

JMM holds key meeting

The raids come on a day when the legislators of the ruling JMM-led coalition in the state are meeting to discuss the current political scenario in the backdrop of the ED's summons to the chief minister in an alleged land grab case.

Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay said that all efforts of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including the ED raids, are aimed at pulling down the Soren government.

He said that he has been in politics for the last almost four decades but has never seen such blatant misuse of the government agencies. The agency, since 2022, has been probing a trail of Rs 100 crore of "proceeds of crime" generated from illegal mining operations in the state.

The money laundering probe began after the ED raided Pankaj Mishra, one of the political aides of Soren, and his alleged associates in July 2022 and covered 19 locations in Sahibganj, Barhet, Rajmahal, Mirza Chauki and Barharwa in Jharkhand to investigate alleged irregularities in the operation of toll plaza tenders and instances of illegal mining in the state.

The evidence collected during the course of the investigation, including the statements of various persons, digital evidence and documents, revealed that the funds seized from the accused was derived from illegal mining being rampantly done in the Sahibganj area, including the forest area, the ED had said.

(With inputs from PTI)


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