Jharkhand: Lokpal notice to JMM chief Shibu Soren in disproportionate assets case

The complaint was filed on August 5, 2020, that Shibu Soren and his family members have amassed huge wealth, disproportionate to their 'known and declared sources of income'.

Published: 10th August 2022 12:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th August 2022 12:58 AM   |  A+A-

JMM president Shibu Soren

JMM president Shibu Soren (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

RANCHI: The Lokpal of India has issued notice to JMM chief and Rajya Sabha MP Shibu Soren asking him to appear before it on August 25 in a disproportionate assets case. 

The complaint was filed on August 5, 2020, that Shibu Soren and his family members have amassed huge wealth, disproportionate to their “known and declared sources of income” through unscrupulous means.

It was also mentioned in the complaint that Soren has amassed several commercial and residential properties in his and his family members’ names by adopting corrupt and unscrupulous means by misusing the public exchequer in the State of Jharkhand.”

The notice was issued by the bench of Justice Abhilasha Kumari (judicial member) and members namely, Mahender Singh and Indrajeet P. Gautam on August 4 following the hearing the matter.

The four page order states that in the considered opinion of the Lokpal proceedings under Section 20(3) should be initiated against Shibu Soren, “in order to determine whether there exists a prima-facie case to proceed against the public servant, under one, or more, of the options provided under sub-section 3, clause (a) (b), (c) of Section 20 of the Act.”

“Therefore, we direct that a notice may be issued to the public servant under Section 20(3) of the Lokpal Act, for giving him a opportunity of being heard, either in person or though his authorized representative/advocate on 25.8.2022 at 11:30 am in the office of Lokpal of India in New Delhi,” stated the notice issued to Shibu Soren. 

The Registry is directed to send copies of the preliminary inquiry reports along with a copy of the complaint and the notice, to the public servant, it added.

The notice further stated that, “We have accorded deep and thoughtful consideration to the complaint, comments of the public servant, and status reports of the CBI and other material on record, in this matter. Looking to the gravity of the
alleged allegations, we are of the view that proceedings under Section 20(3) should be initiated, in order to determine whether there exists a prima-facie case to proceed against the public servant, under one, or more, of the options provided under sub-section 3, clause (a) (b), (c) of Section 20 of the Act,” the order reads.

Earlier, after the complaint was lodged against the JMM chief, the full bench of Lokpal on September 15, 2020 directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the matter under Section 20(1) (a) of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 directing it to submit the report on March 1, 2021.

Subsequently, the CBI submitted a report on July 1, enclosing details of whatsoever properties in the name of Shibu Soren and his family members. The CBI also enclosed certain Income Tax Returns (ITR) and informed that it has asked his comments regarding properties in his possession.

In the light of the CBI report the full bench of the Lokpal of India passed the order on July 29, 2021, that comments/documents from respondents should be sought.’

The Lokpal in its order has maintained that it gave time extension to the respondent on several occasions to file his reply and required documents were also provided, and the reply was finally submitted on April 4 this year.

The Lokpal further directed the CBI to examine the reply and submit an inquiry report.

In between comments were sought from the competent authority of the public servant by the CBI, to which the Additional Director, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, informed that the Rajya Sabha Chairman has no comments to offer on the allegations
made in the complaint.

The CBI filed the final Preliminary Inquiry Report on June 29, 2022, which the Lokpal found quite exhaustive. This is the stage the matter stands at present.

Notably, the notice has been issued to Shibu Soren when his son and Chief Minister Hemant Soren is already facing Public Interest Litigations (PIL) for the alleged irregularities in the grant of mining leases and also on transactions of some shell companies purportedly operated by his family members and associates.



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