Office-of-profit row: CM Soren now asks EC for copy of its opinion

Published on Sep 16, 2022 09:52 PM IST

On Thursday, Hemant Soren’s counsel Vaibhav Tomar wrote to the EC, arguing that its proceedings were judicial and hence a copy be shared with his client since the poll panel had already sent its opinion (recording the outcome of inquiry) on the matter to the Governor after several round of hearings.

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren with Rajya Sabha member and former union finance minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi on Friday. (HT Photo)
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren with Rajya Sabha member and former union finance minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi on Friday. (HT Photo)
By, Ranchi

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, who has been accused of holding an office of profit because he allegedly allotted a mine lease to himself, has now approached the Election Commission (EC) of India for a copy of its opinion sent to Governor Ramesh Bais on the issue so that he could explore further legal options in the face of “delay” on the part of Raj Bhawan in making its decision public, people aware of the development said on Friday.

On Thursday, Soren’s counsel Vaibhav Tomar wrote to the EC, arguing that its proceedings were judicial and hence a copy be shared with his client since the poll panel had already sent its opinion (recording the outcome of inquiry) on the matter to the Governor after several round of hearings.

The same day, CM Soren met the Governor and made a similar demand through a memorandum.

Earlier this month, a delegation of the ruling alliance in the state had met the Governor and urged him to make public the EC opinion sent to Raj Bhawan on August 25.

Meanwhile, hours after meeting Governor at Raj Bhawan on Thursday, Soren left for New Delhi on Thursday night. “He is meeting senior lawyers seeking legal opinion for further action,” an official in CM’s office said on Friday.

In the memorandum submitted to the Governor on Thursday, the chief minister alleged that the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was using the “delay” on part of Raj Bhawan in making public the EC opinion to create confusion among the masses about the future of his assembly membership and his government.

Governor Bais had sought EC’s opinion following a complaint by the BJP, which sought Soren’s disqualification from the assembly for holding an office of profit under section 9A of the Representation of the People Act.

Soren, who leads an alliance government of his party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal in Jharkhand, had allegedly procured stone mining lease in his name in 2021 while being the chief minister and holding the mines portfolio.

EC also sent its opinion to the Governor on a similar complaint seeking disqualification of Basant Soren, the legislator brother of CM Soren, on September 9. BJP had alleged that Basant, Soren’s younger brother, who represents Dumka seat, should be disqualified as a member of the assembly for being a partner in two firms having mining leases in the state. EC issued a notice to Basant Soren on May 5 and he filed his reply to the notice on May 12. The Governor is yet to take a decision on it as well.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    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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