ED questions Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren for over 7 hours in tribal land scam case

We will face all conspiracies of Centre and win the fight, says Jharkhand CM; agency likely to approach him for a second round of questioning

January 20, 2024 01:57 pm | Updated January 21, 2024 05:53 am IST - Patna

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren at his residence in Ranchi on January 20, 2024. Amid tight security cover, Enforcement Directorate officials reached Mr. Soren’s residence to question him in a money laundering case.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren at his residence in Ranchi on January 20, 2024. Amid tight security cover, Enforcement Directorate officials reached Mr. Soren’s residence to question him in a money laundering case. | Photo Credit: PTI

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren was quizzed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials at his official residence in Ranchi for over seven hours in connection with the alleged land scam case.

The ED had earlier issued seven notices on the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader for questioning, however, he skipped all of them. Following the eighth summons, he finally agreed to record his statement.

Altogether, seven officials of the ED reached Mr. Soren’s residence at 1 p.m. and questioned him till 8.30 p.m. Of the seven officials, three came from Delhi. When the ED officials were questioning him, JMM workers turned up outside the house and protested against the Central agency.

With heavy deployment of security forces, the entire area was turned into a virtual fortress.

ED teams arrive at Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren’s residence for questioning in land scam case | Video Credit: ANI

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ED officials did not interact with the media after questioning him. Sources said that Mr. Soren was asked over 100 questions, which he answered politely. The ED is likely to approach Mr. Soren for a second round of questioning.

Once ED officials left his residence, Mr. Soren came out with a smile and met the supporters who were sitting outside his residence since morning. He waved to the supporters and they shouted slogans in his support.

“Our Opposition is trying to dominate us with the help of ED and other investigating agencies, but we are not afraid of anything because we have not done anything wrong. We will face all the conspiracies of the Central government and will win this fight,” Mr. Soren said.

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He further said, “Conspiracy is being hatched to dethrone our government but all the efforts have gone unsuccessful. Conspiracy is under way to conquer our land, but we will fight against all those powers who want to snatch our forest, our land and our houses. This government is not radish and carrot that can be uprooted easily. The people of Jharkhand have made this government and it will stand tall. It is time to put the final nail in their coffin, don’t worry. We must be united to fight the power that is trying to dominate us. Thank you so much for your support.”

Earlier in the day, Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta, after coming out of the CM’s residence, termed the ED questioning a misuse of the Central agencies. He said the government is not afraid of anyone. “He [Mr. Soren] is smiling like any other normal day and meeting them [ED officials]. We are not afraid of anyone because he did not do anything wrong. The constitutional institutions should not be misused,” said Mr. Gupta.

A video of Congress MLA Irfan Ansari crying and hugging Mr. Soren inside his residence has gone viral.

The ED first summoned Mr. Soren for questioning in August 2023.

The BJP had alleged that Mr. Soren, sensing his possible arrest, had plans to resign and install his wife Kalpana Soren as his successor.

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