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Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren Accuses ED of Bias, Refuses to Appear for Questioning

Jharkhand: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has responded to the Directorate of Enforcement’s (ED) seventh summons with strong assertions of bias in the investigation. Soren, accused in a money laundering case related to fraudulent land sales, has opted not to appear for questioning, further complicating the ongoing legal tussle.

Hemant Soren’s response, delivered two days after the ED’s deadline, challenges the integrity of the investigation, claiming it to be prejudiced. The Chief Minister alleges a media trial aimed at tarnishing his image and has neither expressed willingness to cooperate nor sought a new date for questioning.

“A senior ED official, requesting anonymity, confirmed Soren’s stance, emphasizing that the Chief Minister has not offered any explanation for his non-compliance with the summonses. The ED, unyielding in its pursuit of the case, served its seventh summon on December 29, setting a deadline of December 21 for Soren to decide on the date, time, and place for questioning”.

In response, Hemant Soren’s official visited the ED’s zonal office on Tuesday, delivering a sealed envelope with an unknown content. The federal agency, unsatisfied with the Chief Minister’s lack of cooperation, had previously warned of further legal action under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) if he failed to respond.

The ED, in its summons, had highlighted the Chief Minister’s repeated non-appearance despite six previous summonses, labeling it an obstruction to the investigation’s progress. Soren, on his part, has consistently labeled the summonses as politically motivated, a claim the ED has vehemently rejected.

Hemant Soren’s legal battle against the ED has extended to the Supreme Court and the Jharkhand High Court, where he sought protection from the agency’s actions, terming the summonses as unwarranted. However, both courts dismissed his petitions, setting the stage for an intensifying confrontation between the Chief Minister and the federal investigative agency.

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