ED summons Hemant Soren on Nov 17 in illegal mining case

New Delhi: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has been summoned again by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on November 17 in connection with a Prevention of Money Laundering case pertaining to illegal mining and extortion in Jharkhand and Bihar.

Soren had earlier skipped the questioning and sought three weeks time from the ED.

Agency sources claimed that they have sent him a fresh summons to join the probe.

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Soren had written a letter to the probe agency seeking three weeks time. He said that he had programmes to attend and hence he needed three weeks time.

The ED had also written to the Jharkhand Police Commissioner to make appropriate security arrangements ahead of his questioning.

“There was a cheque signed by Mr Soren which was found by us during the recent raid. He also allegedly misused his position and granted a lease,” the sources said.

The ED had recently filed a Prosecution Complaint (chargesheet) before a Special Ranchi court against Pankaj Mishra, a close aide of Soren, and Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash who are also said to be close to the Jharkhand CM.

The court has already taken cognizance of the chargesheet.

The ED said that during the investigation, 47 searches were conducted throughout India on several dates resulting in the seizure of cash amounting to Rs 5.34 crore, freezing of bank balances amounting to Rs 13.32 crore, seizure of an inland vessel MV Infralink -III, reg. No- WB 1809, 5 stone crushers, two Hyva trucks besides incriminating documents along with two AK 47 assault rifles.

Earlier the ED had arrested Pankaj Mishra, Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash. The accused are presently in judicial custody.

The ED initiated the money laundering investigation on the basis of the FIR registered at the Barharwa police station, Sahebganj district in Jharkhand under various sections of the IPC, against Mishra and others.

Later, several FIRs regarding illegal mining lodged under the IPC, Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act were also taken into the ambit of the scheduled offence.

Till date, the ED has identified POC relating to illegal mining to the tune of more than Rs. 1000 crore in this case.

The PMLA investigation revealed that Mishra, who enjoys political clout being the representative of the Chief Minister, controls the illegal mining business as well as inland ferry services in Sahebganj and its adjoining areas through his accomplices.

“He exercises considerable control over the mining of stone chips and boulders as well as installation and operation of several crushers, set up across various mining sites in Sahebganj. Proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 42 crore acquired by Mishra have been identified till date,” said the ED official.

Further investigation in the matter is on.

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