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Updated January 29th, 2024 at 16:47 IST

BREAKING: Security Beefed Up, ED Team Reaches Soren's Ranchi Residence

Soren, who is also the executive president of the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), left for the national capital on January 27 night

Digital Desk
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren refuses to appear before ED in land scam case, calls probe 'biased'
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren refuses to appear before ED in land scam case, calls probe 'biased' | Image:PTI
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Ranchi: As an Enforcement Directorate team visited the residence of Chief Minister Hemant Soren in New Delhi in connection with a money laundering investigation, security has been tightened at the CM House, Raj Bhavan and central government offices in Jharkhand capital Ranchi on Monday. According to our sources, a Joint Director Rank officer has entered Hemant Soren's residence in Ranchi. Soren, who is also the executive president of the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), left for the national capital on January 27 night while scheduled government events of Monday stood cancelled in Rachi without any explanation.

ED officials have stated that procedural searches in Soren’s Delhi residence were based on fresh inputs. The Jharkhand CM has reportedly written to the ED, stating that he will appear before the probe agency on January 31.

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ED officials have further maintained that as per procedure, a statement is recorded while searches are carried out. However, ED has noted that officials were unable to record any statement.

Soren was scheduled to attend an event in Chaibasa on January 29, Palamu on January 30, and Giridih on January 31.

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Soren's party JMM has been staging protests against ED summons to Soren.

"We have ensured that the law and order situation here is maintained. We have beefed up security in the state capital including at key installations like the Raj Bhavan, ED office, Central government office, CM House in order to avoid any crowd there... Prohibitory orders are in place for important installations. We are taking enough precautions (in the prevailing situation)," Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Avinash Kumar told PTI.

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Meanwhile, some top officials said "It is an unprecedented situation here. No one knows the whereabouts of the chief minister." Officials said instructions have been issued to keep an eye on law and order in case of any eventuality in the present situation.

Ranchi SSP Chandan Kumar Sinha told PTI that over 1,000 police personnel have been deployed in 30 strategic locations in the city in view of the proposed protest by JMM workers.

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Ranchi Deputy Commissioner Rahul Kumar Sinha said that adequate security arrangements have been ensured so that traffic movement does not get affected.

As per sources, the ED team's visit to Soren's New Delhi residence could be linked to his fresh deposition in an alleged land fraud case in which the ED had questioned him at his official residence in Ranchi on January 20.

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The agency had issued fresh summons to him last week asking him to confirm his availability for questioning on either January 29 or January 31, sources had said.

The investigation pertains to a "huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia" in Jharkhand, according to the agency.

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Soren travelled to the national capital on Saturday night, triggering speculations.

His trip to Delhi came in the backdrop of the ED asking him whether he would be available for questioning on either January 29 or January 31.

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"The visit was not planned. The sudden plan was made after the issuance of a fresh summons by the ED. He has his scheduled events lined up, including a programme in Chaibasa on January 29, in Palamu on January 30, and in Giridih on January 31", as per an official.

A source had said that Soren went to Delhi for legal consultations. However, this could not be corroborated by the Chief Minister's Office.

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The central agency recorded the chief minister's statement on January 20 at his official residence here under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

It was learnt that the fresh summons was issued as the questioning was not completed that day.

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The investigation pertains to a "huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia" in Jharkhand, according to the agency.

The ED has so far arrested 14 people in the case, including 2011-batch IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan who served as the director of the state's Social Welfare Department and deputy commissioner of Ranchi.

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Meanwhile, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha workers held a protest against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Ranchi, against ED summons to Soren. 

#WATCH | Jharkhand Mukti Morcha workers hold protest against Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Ranchi, against ED summons to CM Hemant Soren, in connection with a money-laundering case linked to an alleged land scam pic.twitter.com/Rf8oQVZx5x

— ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2024 

The Joint Director Officer along with the additional ED team has reached Soren's residence. The ED has reportedly stated that the Jharkhand CM remains untraceable.  

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Published January 29th, 2024 at 14:47 IST

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