Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate again for questioning in an alleged money laundering case. He was questioned last on Saturday at his home in Ranchi, sources have said. It was the first round of questioning — he had skipped seven earlier summons.
The recording of his statement under the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act), however, could not be finished that day and the ED has sought another session. This time, he has been asked to come to the zonal office of the agency between January 27 and 31, sources said.
Mr Soren has claimed that he is the target of a huge conspiracy.
“A conspiracy was hatched against me, but the final nail in the coffin of the conspirators will be put by us… We will not be scared, your leader will face the bullets first and keep your morale high,” Mr Soren told the workers of his Jharkhand Mukti Morcha after his questioning by the ED on Saturday.
The case involves “huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia” in Jharkhand, according to the Central agency.
The agency has so far arrested 14 people in the case, including 2011-batch IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan who served as the director of the state Social Welfare Department and deputy commissioner of Ranchi.
In November 2022, Mr Soren was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in another money-laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining in the state.
The nine-hour questioning had followed several no-shows and an appeal in court by the Jharkhand Chief Minister.
Mr Soren has denied any wrongdoing in that case too and alleged a larger conspiracy to “harass a tribal leader”. The Central agencies are targeting him because he was not towing the line of the Central government, he had claimed.