ED summons Hemant Soren in mining case, JMM threatens economic blockade | India News

NEW DELHI: Already facing disqualification proceedings in the Election Commission in an office-of-profit case, Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren has now been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning on Thursday at its Ranchi office in the wake of allegations of running illegal mining operations in the state through his close aides.
The ED had seized more than Rs 20 crore in cash and in bank accounts from one of his close associates, Pankaj Mishra, from whom the agency also recovered signed cheques of Soren. This was in addition to the recovery of two AK-47 assault rifles during raids on over 40 other locations on Mishra and his other associates.
The agency had in its chargesheet filed in September against Mishra and two other accused claimed that it had seized a “sealed envelope containing a passbook and two cheque books containing two signed cheques bearing nos. 004718 & 004719 and 31 blank cheques…all pertaining to a/c no 593210110003422 in the name of Hemant Soren held with Bank of India, Gangaprasad branch, Sahibganj” from the premises of Mishra during a search operation in the money laundering case.
Soren is facing disqualification from the EC for allegedly allotting mining lease to himself and close family members despite being a public servant, thus being liable for disqualification under the office-of-profit rules. The EC has already sent its recommendation to the Jharkhand governor and a final order is awaited.
Soren’s questioning by ED will be based on the statement recorded by his close aides Mishra and two others, Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash, already arrested in the case and now in judicial custody. The agency has filed chargesheet in the case against the alleged close aides of the CM and a special PMLA court has also taken cognisance of it, setting the stage for trial.
“Till date, ED has identified proceeds of crime relating to illegal mining to the tune of more than Rs 1,000 crore in this case. The investigation revealed that Pankaj Mishra, who enjoys political clout, being the representative of the chief minister, MLA from Barhait, Sahebganj area of Jharkhand, controls the illegal mining businesses as well as inland ferry services in Sahebganj and its adjoining areas through his accomplices,” the agency had claimed in its prosecution complaint (chargesheet).
The chargesheet also described Mishra exercising considerable control over the mining of stone chips and boulders as well as installation and operations of several crushers, set up across various mining sites in Sahebganj. “Proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 42 crore acquired by the accused Pankaj Mishra have been identified till date,” the ED had said.

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