ED’s actions ‘reek of malice’: Jharkhand CM Soren on repeated summons

NEW DELHI: Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren on Monday told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that he will be available for questioning on January 31 in connection with a money-laundering case linked to an alleged land scam.
In an email to the central agency in which he provided the date, Soren also attacked the ED for acting as per “motivated political agenda to disrupt state government functioning”.
He further said that the ED’s insistence to record his statement again on or before January 31, 2024 “reeks of malice“.Stating that the ED’s repeated issuance of summons was “wholly vexatious” and “in colourable exercise of power”, Soren said the agency should “preserve video recording of the 7 hours of questioning” that was done during his last summons in January 20 so that it can be made “available to court”.
Notably, this is the tenth summons issued to Soren in the land scam case.
Earlier on Monday, an ED team had reached Soren’s residence in Delhi after he failed to give a date for when he would be available for questioning.
The agency had summoned the CM for questioning and had asked him to provide a date between January 29-31.
ED had recorded the statement of the 48-year-old CM for the first time in the case on January 20 after investigators went to his official residence in Ranchi.
They recorded his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) during the about seven hours they spent at his home.
It is understood that as the questioning did not finish on that day, the fresh summons was issued.
The investigation pertains to a “huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia” in Jharkhand, according to the agency.
The ED has, so far, arrested 14 people in the case, including 2011-batch IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan who served as the director of the state’s Social Welfare Department and deputy commissioner of Ranchi.
(With inputs from agencies)

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