Jharkhand CM gives nod for enquiry against 5 ex-BJP ministers in assets case
The five ex-BJP ministers, who are under scanner, were part of chief minister Raghubar Das’ cabinet from 2014 to 2019 and four of them are currently serving as the members of the legislative assembly
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren on Monday gave nod to the state government’s cabinet secretariat and vigilance department to register a preliminary enquiry (PE) into the alleged disproportionate assets of five former Bharatiya Janata Party (MBJP) ministers in the state.
The direction came following a request from the department to register a PE based on an initial probe conducted by the state’s anti corruption bureau (ACB) on direction from the cabinet secretariat and vigilance department headed by the chief minister.
The chief minister on June 1 directed ACB to conduct a probe into the allegations in light of a public interest litigation (PIL), seeking high level probe in the disproportionate assets, filed by one Pankaj Yadav before the Jharkhand high court in 2020.
“Chief minister Hemant Soren has directed the cabinet secretariat and vigilance department to register PE for further probe in the disproportionate assets of former ministers Randhir Singh, Neelkanth Singh Munda, Luis Marandi, Neera Yadav and Amar Bauri,” a statement from the chief minister’s secretariat said.
“On direction from the cabinet secretariat and vigilance department, the ACB had registered an informative report. After conducting initial investigation, the ACB had sought permission from the department to register separate PEs against the five former ministers. Based on the ACB report, the department had sought permission from the chief minister,” it added.
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The five former ministers, who are under scanner, were part of chief minister Raghubar Das’ cabinet from 2014 to 2019. Of the five BJP leaders, Amar Bauri, Neelkanth Singh Munda, Neera Yadav and Randhir Singh are currently members of the legislative assembly.
Though the PIL was filed on January 28, 2020, the matter is yet to be listed for hearing in the high court. In his petition, Yadav has provided details of the growth in the declared assets of the five BJP leaders, comparing their election affidavits of 2014 and 2019. As per the petitioner, there has been a sharp increase in their assets varying from 200 to around 1,200 percent in five years.
There was no immediate reaction from the BJP or the former ministers. Earlier in June, reacting to the state government’s order for an ACB probe, one of the five ex-ministers, Munda, who served as rural development minister in the previous government, said he had declared all his assets in his election affidavits. “There is nothing to hide. Let them probe,” he had said.