Amid political row over the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) summon to Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren in illegal mining case, the state’s BJP president Deepak Prakash said on Wednesday that no one can “escape the law”. His statement came hours after the federal agency summoned Soren on Thursday, and the CM’s party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Congress lashed out at the move.
Prakash said that the law agency is “doing its job”. “The one who has committed an economic offense cannot escape the law. The chief minister had allotted illegal mines in his name and the entire Jharkhand is well aware of this scam,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
He further stated that Soren allotted the mines in his wife’s, and advisor and MLA Pankaj Mishra’s name. “It is evident that the entire scam of illegal mining is worth a thousand of crores. The ED’s summon to Soren on the grounds of this evidence is welcomed,” Prakash said.
The Jharkhand BJP chief said the “economic criminals” of the country have looted the state’s resources and an action must be taken against them.
Earlier in the day, Soren’s party colleague Manoj Pandey accused the BJP-ruled Centre of “vendetta politics” while speaking about the ED summon.
The central agency has summoned the Jharkhand chief minister for questioning in connection with the money laundering probe into alleged illegal mining in the state, and also over the contravention of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
The ED began its probe in the money laundering matter based on an FIR filed against Mishra and others. It had subsequently taken over the investigation into other cases related to illegal mining in Jharkhand.
Soren has been summoned months after the Election Commission of India (EC) in August sent a report to governor Ramesh Bias, recommending the CM’s disqualification as a member of the state assembly for allegedly holding a mining lease. The BJP has argued that Soren flouted the office of profit rules. However, the CM has rejected all the allegations.
Furthermore, ED’s latest move comes almost a month after it seized a passbook and cheque book, including two signed copies of Soren, from the home of Mishra. The federal agency had arrested Mishra in July, and two others in August, and all of them currently remain in judicial custody.
(With inputs from agencies)