An Enforcement Directorate team reached Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren‘s Ranchi home this morning, to question him in connection with a money laundering scam, over 48 hours after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader went “missing” from his Delhi residence and “resurfaced” in his state.
Visuals from outside his home showed a large convoy of vehicles, some with security personnel inside, driving up to the main gate and being stopped by armed security personnel from Mr Soren’s side, including those in suits.
There appeared to be some commotion as the men in suits (presumably his personal security) spoke to those in the first car. Seconds later the vehicle, it appears to be a Toyota Fortuner, drives through the gates, followed by the others.
#WATCH | Ranchi | A team of ED officials arrive at the residence of CM Hemant Soren for questioning in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam. pic.twitter.com/zoZinY1w6Y
— ANI (@ANI) January 31, 2024
The probe agency’s officials are likely to find Mr Soren flanked by MLAs from his JMM, news agency PTI has said; Agriculture Minister, Badal Patralekh, said the party stands “behind the Chief Minister”.
Mr Soren, 48, had earlier been questioned on January 20, after which the agency issued a second summons for this week. Sources told ANI said the agency offered him two dates – January 29 or 31.
The agency, sources within which said the first interrogation had not been completed, said it would take action on its own if no date was selected. Last week the Jharkhand leader said he would be available at his Ranchi home 1 pm on January 31.
However, before that there was drama and controversy, with Mr Soren flying into Delhi Saturday in a private plane, and then disappearing from his home in the national capital by Sunday night.
He reportedly took a secretive nearly 1,300-km road trip back home.
The ED, meanwhile, turned up at in Delhi home early Monday (January 29), didn’t find him, and searched the building, allegedly finding Rs 36 lakh in cash, which was seized, as was his luxury SUV.
Mr Soren is being questioned as part of an investigation into a “huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia” in Jharkhand, ED officials have said. Fourteen people have been arrested in this case so far.
Amid speculation Mr Soren could be the 15th, the Chief Minister’s wife was spotted at a meeting of party legislators in Ranchi Tuesday evening, leading to talk she might be installed in the top job should her husband be jailed.
The JMM has said it will back Ms Soren, but there are legal hurdles since she is not a member of the Assembly and there is no time for a bypoll.
With input from agencies
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