'Land scam' case: ED sends Jharkhand CM Soren 'last chance' 7th summons

The agency has sought a response from the chief minister by December 31, failing which it will initiate further legal action under the provisions of the anti-money laundering law.
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (File photo)
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (File photo)

RANCHI: Giving last chance, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a summon to Chief Minister Hemant Soren for the seventh time, asking him to decide the date, time and place himself and the officials will come there and interrogate him.

Soren has been given two days to submit written information before the ED office. Interestingly, for the first time, ED in its summon has informed Soren that inquiries are to be held in relation to the documents found from Bhanu Pratap's house, one of the accused in the alleged land scam case.

According to ED, several important documents related to land were found in the raid from the house of Sub-Inspector Bhanu Pratap Prasad of Badagain zone.

“This time you are being given the last chance to record your statement under Section 50 of PMLA. Please decide the date, time and place yourself. ED officials will come there and interrogate,” stated the summon issued by ED against Soren.

Notably, ED has already summoned Soren six times in an alleged land scam case but he ignored all of them giving one or another excuse for not appearing before the central agency. The Jharkhand High Court has already rejected his petition challenging the summons issued against him by the ED in the alleged land scam case.

Incidentally, Soren moved to Jharkhand High Court after the Supreme Court refused to entertain his petition directing him to approach the High Court instead of coming directly to the apex court.

Soren had approached the Supreme Court challenging the summons issued by ED saying that it is wrong for the ED to summon him in the alleged land scam, but the Apex Court refused to entertain his petition. Soren skipped the first summons on August 14, and sent a letter to ED asking it to withdraw the summons or he will be forced to take legal action against the agency.

But, the ED again issued a summon against Soren asking him to appear before it on August 24. Soren skipped it again and sent a letter to ED saying that he has filed a writ petition in Supreme Court challenging the summons issued to him, but he was summoned again by ED for the third time.

Soren was waiting for the hearing of his petition in the Supreme Court on September 17, but before that he was issued fresh summons by ED asking to appear before it on September 23. Despite going to ED office, Soren approached Jharkhand High Court against the summons issued against him and sought relief.

But, a few days later, ED issued fresh summons, this time for the fifth time, asking Soren to appear before the central investigation agency on October 4, which he skipped again.

Later he was called for the sixth time on December 12 for questioning, but he skipped it again and finally was given a last chance on December 29 to appear before the central agency asking to decided time, date and place for himself so that the ED sleuths could come there and record his statement.

ED is probing two major cases of money laundering in Jharkhand. The first case is related to illegal mining in Sahibganj in which the CM was questioned on November 17 last year.

While the second case is related to an alleged land scam in the state capital for which Soren has been issued summons twice by the ED.

13 people, including IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan and two businessmen, Amit Agrawal of Kolkata and Bishnu Agarwal, who owns shopping malls in Ranchi, have already been arrested in connection with the alleged land scam.

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