Ten locations in Ranchi and Rajasthan are being searched by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case involving illicit mining in Jharkhand, according to sources.
One of the people who has been searched is Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s press advisor, Abhishek Prasad.
In addition, Sahib Ganj district collector Ram Nivas and Hazaribag deputy superintendent of police Rajendra Dubey are facing ED action. Rajasthan is where the district collector resides.
The ED summoned Mr. Soren for the seventh time on Saturday in an additional case related to an alleged land scam in an attempt to get him to provide a statement.
The Jharkhand Chief Minister was forewarned by the ED in the summons that this was his final chance to record his statement.
“… We are giving you this last opportunity to record your statement under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002… which should be within seven days of receipt of this notice/summons,” the Enforcement Director stated in the summons to Mr. Soren.
According to news agency ANI on Tuesday, Mr. Soren has referred to the summons as “illegal”. Mr. Soren claimed to have already provided the ED with information about his properties in a letter.
“Soren claims the summons is unlawful in a letter to the ED in response to one that was sent to him. He charged that ED was turning the entire situation into a media trial. He replied that he had previously provided the property details. He claimed that the ED was attempting to topple his government, according to ANI, which cited an unidentified source.
In addition, Mr. Soren is under investigation for possible money laundering related to the illegal mining case in the district of Sahebganj. The chief minister, who oversees the geology and mining departments, is accused of breaking election laws in 2021 when he granted himself a mining lease.
Mr. Soren has claimed a larger plot to “harass a tribal leader” and denied any wrongdoing.
Only a few months before the national election, the ED searches occur. The BJP’s “complete imagination” is what Mr. Soren has called rumors that his wife Kalpana Soren is being prepared to run from the Gandey assembly constituency.
The ED’s most recent summons to Mr. Soren and the resignation of Sarfaraz Ahmad, the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MLA, on Monday served as the catalyst for the rumors.
According to the BJP, Mr. Ahmad was forced to resign so Kalpana Soren could run for the Gandey seat in the event that the ED case came down.