ED arrests Hemant Soren in money laundering case after resignation as Jharkhand CM
Soren tendered his resignation as Jharkhand CM to governor C.P. Radhakrishnan and was then taken to the ED office in Ranchi
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday arrested JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) leader Hemant Soren after over seven hours of questioning on money laundering charges in an alleged land fraud case, official sources said.
Before his arrest, Soren tendered his resignation as Jharkhand chief minister to governor C.P. Radhakrishnan at Raj Bhavan and was then taken to the ED office in state capital Ranchi.
Sources claimed the 48-year-old Soren was "evasive" in his replies during his questioning, and hence was taken into custody under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED is expected to produce Soren before a special PMLA court in Ranchi, and will seek his remand for custodial interrogation, the sources said. They also said the agency put across 15 questions to Soren during the second round of questioning in the case. He was first quizzed on 20 January.
The JMM leader was shown the typed statements he recorded with the agency and before taking him in custody, his signatures were sought on these documents. It was, however, not clear if he signed them.
The allegations of money laundering against the JMM leader pertain to the alleged illegal possession of certain immovable assets apart from his purported links with members of the 'land mafia'. The investigation is linked to a "huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia" in Jharkhand, according to the central probe 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. An employee of the Jharkhand land revenue department, Bhanu Prasad, was also arrested by the agency.
The ED is probing the alleged "huge amounts of proceeds of crime generated by manipulation of official records by showing dummy sellers and purchasers in the guise of forged/ bogus documents to acquire huge parcels of land having value in crores''.