Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Thursday said that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe against him is “part of a larger conspiracy by the BJP’s central government to destabilize” the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress state government.
Soren today appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Ranchi for questioning in connection with alleged money laundering through illegal mining. Speaking to reporters before leaving for the ED office the Jharkhand chief minister claimed as baseless the allegations levelled against him.
“This may be a conspiracy of opposition to destabilise my government. They have been trying to make the government unstable ever since we came to power,” said Soren, ahead of his appearance before the ED.
He also pointed out that the Election Commission had sent its opinion to the Governor based on a complaint by the BJP seeking his disqualification as an MLA. Soren said that the Governor is “yet to open” the envelope. The role of the Governor is in doubt, said Soren.
“The allegations levelled against me are baseless. I have written a letter to the ED questioning Rs 1000 crore scam,” he said while adding that if sand and stones are so precious, then the government should include them in the list of the major minerals, and get over coal and other minerals from the list and include them in the list of minor minerals.
“I hold a constitutional post as chief minister but the manner in which summons were issued, it seems as if I am the kind of person who would flee the country,” said Soren. “During my political career, unlike businessmen, I have not seen any political party or its leader fleeing from the country,” he added.
The Jharkhand CM was initially summoned by the federal probe agency on November 3, but he did not depose citing official engagements. Soren had then sought a three-week deferment of the summons. The ED has said that it has “identified” proceeds of crime relating to illegal mining in the state to the tune of more than Rs1000 crore till now.
Meanwhile hundreds of JMM workers today gathered in support of CM Soren at Morabadi Ground, and senior leaders and MLAs also gathered at CM Soren’s house early this morning. Soren had asked all MLAs to remain present today for another round of meeting as part of his move to keep his flock together.