CM Soren questions ED’s‘silence’ on its raids in Jharkhand

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren has questioned the lack of “official briefings” by the Enforcement Directorate on its ongoing raids in the state in connection with the alleged MNREGA scam.
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren. (PTI)
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren. (PTI)
Published on May 27, 2022 09:59 PM IST
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By, Ranchi

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren has questioned the lack of “official briefings” by the Enforcement Directorate on its ongoing raids in the state in connection with the alleged MNREGA scam.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a personal visit to Chaibasa on Thursday evening, the chief minister said he was closely watching what was the task assigned to the agency and what they are actually doing.

“Why are they not sharing with you (press) what they have actually achieved during the raids (in past few weeks). Have they said anything clearly and put them in public domain. As far as my information goes, they have not issued even a single statement on this,” Soren said.

The series of ED raids in connection with alleged embezzlement of 18.06 crore of MNREGA funds started on May 6, when the federal agency searched multiple locations in four states, including official residence of Jharkhand’s mines & industry secretary Pooja Singhal. She was arrested later on May 11, and suspended the next day.

On May 7, Singhal’s chartered accountant Suman Kumar was arrested after recovery of 17.49 crore from his residence. Several raids have been conducted in the state since the arrest of the duo, besides several officers, especially of the mines department, headed by the chief minister, being summoned for questioning at ED’s zonal office in Ranchi.

The agency has, however, not issued any statement in the past three weeks, including those on recoveries.

Meanwhile, ED has filed affidavit and submitted a report in a sealed cover before the Jharkhand High Court, which is hearing PILs related to MNREGA scam and those seeking CBI probe against chief minister Hemant Soren.

When contacted for reaction over the CM’s charge, Subodh Kumar, deputy director, ED (Ranchi), said, “Things related to investigation is not revealed till charge-sheet is filed.”

The state’s main opposition party, the BJP, meanwhile, hit out at the chief minister for “politicising” an ongoing investigation against corruption.

“The ED is investigating a corruption case. They are summoning officials. Why is the CM getting disturbed? Does he know something more? Moreover, even the state government has several investigating agencies. And I am sure the CM must be aware that they don’t reveal findings unless investigation is complete. That is a common practice,” said Jharkhand BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo.


    Vishal Kant works as an Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He tracks developments in Aam Aadmi Party and Delhi government. Vishal has spent about a decade covering the city politics and governance, besides writing on Delhi’s civic issues, urban transport and infrastructure.

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