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Updated January 30th, 2024 at 22:34 IST

JMM to File Defamation Case Against 2 BJP Leaders Over Comments on Soren's 'Absence'

JMM has said it would file a defamation lawsuit against BJP state chief Babulal Marandi and another MP who "tweets frequently", implied to be Nishikant Dubey.

Digital Desk
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren | Image:Republic
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RANCHI: The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, on Tuesday, said that it will file a defamation case against two BJP state leaders for their comments on JMM leader and state chief minister Hemant Soren's ‘absence’ in Ranchi. The leaders in question are BJP state chief Babulal Marandi and another BJP MP who “tweets frequently”, apparently indicating Nishikant Dubey. While announcing this move, the JMM said that CM Soren is not just an individual but an institution and that the allegations made by the aforementioned BJP leaders qualify the criteria for Section 499 of CrPC (Defamation). 

Furthermore, the ruling party of Jharkhand also questioned the purpose of the visit to Soren's official residence in Delhi by Enforcement Directorate officials on Monday given that he was scheduled to face questioning from the agency on January 31. Hemant Soren had left for Delhi on the night of January 27, returning to his official residence in Ranchi on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday amid speculations about his whereabouts.

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After his return, the CM called for a meeting with JMM and allied leaders at his residence. Following the conclusion of a meeting of JMM and its allied leaders at CM Hemant Soren's house on Tuesday night, JMM MP Mahua Maji said that the meeting was called because “The BJP spread chaos by declaring the CM as an absconder and whatnot.” Hemant Soren is now set to face a team of ED officials tomorrow, on February 31. 

In his post on X, BJP state chief Babulal Marandi said: "People heaved a sigh of relief as chief minister Hemant Soren, who had fled on foot from his Delhi residence late on the night of January 28, returned to the CM residence in Ranchi safe and secure, almost 40 hours later." Marandi, a former chief minister, also took a dig at Soren, saying how much trouble Soren had faced during his rush to cover the distance of 1,295 km from Delhi to Jharkhand.

"Forget about Delhi, It seems that Hemant ji will not even dream of going anywhere across the border of Jharkhand, let alone by road or air, in the near future," Marandi said.

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The federal agency searched the 5/1 Shanti Niketan residence of the JMM leader in south Delhi on Monday, and camped there for almost 13 hours in order to question him, officials said.

The ED has seized Rs 36 lakh, a BMW SUV and some "incriminating" documents from there, they said.

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About the "recovery" of Rs 36 lakh, the JMM spokesperson said, "Wasn’t that planned by ED and Babulal (Marandi) Ji? They are treating him (Soren) like a criminal but I would like to state that our CM is not afraid of anyone." Citing the ED's recovery of cash from Soren's residence, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey wondered if the chief minister has been hiding his "billions" of rupees after going "missing" for 50 hours.

In a swipe at the JMM leader, the Godda MP claimed his father Shibu Soran had also gone missing for 21 days while being a Union minister and the son has imbibed some of his attributes.

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The agency had questioned Soren on January 20 in connection with a land fraud case and had issued a fresh summons, asking him to confirm his availability for questioning on either January 29 or January 31.

Bhattacharya asked, "When the state chief minister Hemant Soren called the Enforcement Directorate to record his statement on January 31, why did they reach his official residence in Delhi yesterday?" In an email on Sunday, Soren has informed the ED that the agency is available to face questioning on Wednesday at 1 pm at his official residence in Ranchi.

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Reacting to JMM’s threat of taking legal action, senior BJP leader CP Singh said the saffron party has not given any statement that qualifies for a case under Defamation law.

"If they (JMM) want to go to court, they can. But the case won't stand the judicial scrutiny. In politics, people do blame each other. The fact is they (JMM) are afraid and frustrated," Singh said.

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With inputs from PTI. 

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Published January 30th, 2024 at 22:15 IST

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