Industry dept headed by CM Soren allotted plot to his wife’s firm: BJP

Published on Apr 25, 2022 10:15 PM IST
Jharkhand’s former chief minister and BJP leader Raghubar Das on Monday levelled fresh allegations of corruption against chief minister Hemant Soren, alleging that the state’s industry department headed by Soren allotted an 11-acre plot to his wife Kalpana Soren’s firm at an industrial cluster in the state capital last year.
Former Jharkhand CM and BJP leader Raghubar Das. (HT Archives)
Former Jharkhand CM and BJP leader Raghubar Das. (HT Archives)
By, Ranchi

Jharkhand’s former chief minister and BJP leader Raghubar Das on Monday levelled fresh allegations of corruption against chief minister Hemant Soren, alleging that the state’s industry department headed by Soren allotted an 11-acre plot to his wife Kalpana Soren’s firm at an industrial cluster in the state capital last year.

Earlier, Das had alleged that CM Soren, who heads the JMM-led alliance government in the state, had allotted a stone chips mine’s lease to himself and demanded his resignation.

The former CM said Soren has been indulging in corrupt practices and favouring his relatives and those close to him ever since he took over the reins of the state in December 2019. He said giving lease or contracts to family members amounts to conflict of interest and is a criminal offence under Prevention of Corruption Act.

“This government promised to provide industrial plot to tribal youths of the state. However, they could find only the CM’s wife for the purpose and allotted an 11-acre plot at Barhe industrial park for meat processing unit under Chanho block in Ranchi to Sohrai Live Private limited, which is owned by his wife Kalpana Soren. The chief minister heads the industry department, so he should explain if this allotment was done in his knowledge and influence,” Das said at a press conference at the party’s state headquarters here.

Underlining that chief minister has violated the rules under section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act as incumbent chief minister or any family member cannot get a government contract or lease, Das, national vice-president of the BJP, said the chief minister should resign on his own, even as a party delegation would be meeting the Governor Ramesh Bais over the issue soon.

“Besides, CM’s media advisor Abhishek Prasad got a 10-year stone mining lease on 11.7-acre plot in Pakariya villageof in Sahebganj district on April 8, 2021. He has already made an investment of 90 lakh on that plot. Similarly, mining lease of 6.25-acre was granted in Sahebganj to Pankaj Mishra , the assembly representative of the chief minister in 2021. Since the government could tamper with the documents, we demand probe by an independent agency,” Das said.

The fresh allegation is set to mount pressure on the chief minister and the government.

CM Soren is already bracing for an inquiry by central agencies and by the election commission over charges of holding an office of profit.

On February 10, Das had alleged that CM Soren, who heads the mines and the environment departments, allotted stone chips mining lease to himself in 2021. While the Jharkhand High Court has already served notice to the CM and the state government while hearing a PIL, the Election Commission of India too has initiated a probe on allegations of Soren holding an office of profit on a reference from the Governor.

JMM spokespersons did not respond to phone calls.

Ruling alliance delegation meets Guv

Meanwhile, later in the day, a delegation of the ruling JMM-Congress-RJD combine called on Governor Ramesh Bais alleging that the BJP was trying to destabilise the Hemant Soren government.

In its joint memorandum to the Governor, the ruling alliance underlined that Raj Bhawan also needs to give the state government an opportunity to put forth its views on the allegations.

“We informed and requested the Governor that no case of office of profit stands against the CM. He has sent the reply to the ECI. BJP is making baseless allegations against the CM just to create confusion and destabilise the government. We requested the Governor to give the state government a chance to clarify its position as a principle of natural justice,” said Supriyo Bhattacharya, JMM’s chief spokesperson who was part of the delegation.

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