Hemant Soren skips ED summons in Ranchi, says come and arrest me straight away

Nov 03, 2022 05:21 PM IST

Hemant Soren was summoned by ED in connection with its money laundering probe linked to illegal mining in Jharkhand

RANCHI: Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, who was summoned to appear for questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), skipped the summons on Thursday and dared the federal agency to arrest him if it considered him involved in alleged illegal mining in the state.

Jharkhand chief minister and working president of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Hemant Soren addresses party workers outside his residence in Ranchi. (PTI)
Jharkhand chief minister and working president of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Hemant Soren addresses party workers outside his residence in Ranchi. (PTI)

“Come and arrest me if I have committed corruption. Why send the summons for questioning? Come and arrest me straight away, then people will give you an adequate reply,” Soren said, addressing a large group of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) workers who gathered outside his official residence before flying to Chhattisgarh capital Raipur to attend a tribal festival.

Soren, 47, said the summons by the federal agency was part of a larger conspiracy to destabilise his government which he said, received a historic mandate in 2019 and was designed to intimidate the coalition government and its supporters by showing how powerful they are.

“They summoned Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. They now sent an invitation to me to mark my attendance to show they are powerful. I challenge them, come and arrest me,” Soren said, his brief speech often punctuated by slogans raised by his supporters.

In July, ED arrested Hemant Soren’s political aide Pankaj Mishra on charges of money laundering in connection with alleged illegal mining and transportation in the state. The following month, Mishra’s associates, Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash were also arrested by ED.

In its initial charge sheet file in September, ED said Pankaj Mishra was not only allegedly using his association with the chief minister to indulge in illegal mining, but “a sealed envelope containing a passbook and two cheque books containing two signed cheques, all pertaining to Bank of India account of Hemant Soren” were also seized during searches conducted on July 8.

On Thursday, Soren also asked JMM workers to be prepared for fighting the ED case politically, saying they need to go back to villages and expose the conspiracy of the Bharatiya Janata Partry (BJP) to destabilise their government.

“We made one engine (defeating Raghubar Das govt in Jharkhand) of the double-engine government defunct in 2019. Now it’s time to ensure the second engine (Modi govt) also becomes defunct,” said Soren.


    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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