The Supreme Court of India has refused to hear the plea of Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren against the summons by the Enforcement Directorate in relation to the charges of money laundering against him. Hemant Soren had demanded that the ED relent or face legal action was directed to approach the state’s High Court by the SC after he filed a petition in the apex court of the country challenging the summons by the ED. He also claimed that he was receiving repeated summons despite the existing case.
Jharkhand CM was summoned by the ED for questioning
The Jharkhand CM was summoned by the ED to appear for questioning on the 23rd of September in relation to the money laundering charges against Hemant Soren which came after allegations of corruption linked to illegal mining in the Sahebganj district.
In his application to the court, Hemant Soren said, “repeated summons were issued to threaten, humiliate and intimidate him” and claimed that these were “politically motivated”. He said that the summons, apart from being “derogatory, illegal and unfair”, also undermined the office he holds, as they are addressed to the ‘Chief Minister of Jharkhand’ and not to him directly. Mr Soren also said “targeting of opposition leaders” had “picked up pace” ahead of elections this year and the next and after the formation of INDI Alliance, which includes his Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.
The Chief Minister and other opposition leaders have often alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government uses central investigative agencies, like the Enforcement Directorate to target and harass political opponents, also claiming that cases seem to disappear once the politicians being investigated join the BJP.
The Enforcement Directorate had asked CM Hemant Soren last month to join its investigation after which he wrote to them saying that he had provided all the necessary documents, including details of his movable and immovable assets to the Central Bureau of Investigation, in connection with a separate inquiry and then invited the Enforcement Directorate to refer to those papers if it needed any further information.
Hemant Soren who also serves as the state’s head of mining ministry has also been alleged to violating poll rules by giving himself a lease. He has however, denied these allegations and called it a conspiracy to harass a tribal leader.
Last year too, the Jharkhand Chief Minister skipped the ED’s summons in November and went to Chhattisgarh to attend a dance festival instead. Speaking about his decision to skip his questioning and attend the festival that was scheduled in advance, Mr Soren objected to what he alleged was a short notice from the probe agency to appear. “Are we thieves or anti-socials?” he had asked while speaking to NDTV.
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