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'Missing' Soren Reappears In Ranchi; Wife Kalpana To Takeover As Jharkhand CM?

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren is said to have reached his Ranchi residence

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Amid ED's probe into allegations against CM Soren, speculation are rife that his wife Kalpana might takeover the top post if he is arrested Photo: Facebook/Hemant Soren
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Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who apparently went "untraceable" amid an Enforcement Directorate (ED) team's visit to his Delhi residence, has finally reappeared and reached his Ranchi residence where he held a meeting which, along with JMM and Congress MLAs, was also attended by his wife, triggering speculation of her possible takeover in case of a major action by the federal probe agency.

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren has also reportedly sought time to meet governor CP Radhakrishnan

Reports of Jharkhand chief minister Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) supremo Hemant Soren going "missing" were all over, prompting BJP also to mock the CM by putting up a 'gumshuda ki talash [hunt on for missing] poster on X.

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Family of the Jharkhand CM alleged that a "false" narrative was being set to "delegitimise" the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader's position.

An Enforcement Directorate (ED) team on Monday visited the Delhi residence of Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren to question him in connection with a money laundering investigation and camped there for over 13 hours during which they searched the premises.

While Hemant Soren's whereabouts were unknown, which ED termed as an "unprecedented situation", a mail was reportedly sent by the 48-year-old Jharkhand chief minister in which he alleged that the ED actions were "motivated by political agenda" to disrupt the state government's functioning, adding probe agency's insistence to record his statement again on or before January 31 "reeked of malice".

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The chartered plane on which CM Soren travelled from Ranchi to Delhi was parked at Delhi airport when he went "untraceable, an NDTV report mentioned, adding that the phones of several people part of his staff are also switched off.

'Missing' Jharkhand CM's Wife To Take Over?

As ED camped at Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren's Delhi residence for over 13 hours, during which they searched the premises, official sources claimed he was "missing" and could not be contacted by the federal agency.

Officials of the federal probe agency accompanied by Delhi Police personnel reached the 5/1 Shanti Niketan building in South Delhi around 9 am on Monday, while a large number of mediapersons stood outside. Several ED officials were seen leaving the premises at around 10.30 pm.

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Media outside Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren's residence where an ED team reached, in New Delhi, Monday Photo: PTI
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While Hemant Soren has now reappeared and is in Ranchi, his wife, Kalpana Soren, is being speculated to take over the Chief Minister's post, an indiatoday.in report said. Kalpana Soren was part of a meeting on Tuesday that Soren chaired on reaching Ranchi with JMM and Congress MLAs.

Reports suggest that Kalpana Soren is likely to take over Hemant Soren's post if the Enforcement Directorate arrests him.

A family member, however, alleged that a "false" narrative was being set to "delegitimise" the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader's position.

The member, who did not wish to be identified, claimed there were repeated communications to ED and compliance to the summons including willingness to record his statement on January 31, 2024 at 1 pm at his Ranchi residence, a PTI report said.

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Meanwhile, Section 144 of the CrPc has been imposed within 100 meters radius of Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren's residence, Raj Bhavan and ED office in Ranchi amid JMM's protest against the summons.

Soren's BMW Seized

The probe agency seized a Haryana-registered BMW and another car from Soren's residence apart from some documents recovered by them during the search conducted at the house, the PTI report cited sources.

Enforcement Directorate also recovered Rs 36 lakhs in cash was also seized from the Delhi residence of Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren.

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

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

"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).

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