Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has taken legal action by filing a petition in the Jharkhand High Court, challenging the summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case, according to his counsel. This move comes after the Supreme Court declined to entertain Soren's plea against the ED's summons on September 18, granting him the option to seek relief from the Jharkhand High Court.
Soren's counsel, Piyush Chitresh, confirmed that the petition has been filed in the high court to contest the ED's summons. The ED had previously summoned Soren to appear at their office in Ranchi on August 14 and later requested his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Soren had cited pre-scheduled events as the reason for missing the ED's summons in an alleged defense land scam case, PTI reported.
Last year, Soren underwent more than nine hours of questioning by the ED in connection with a separate money laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining in the state. The ED is currently investigating numerous land deals, including one involving defense land, where a group of individuals, including mafia, middlemen, and bureaucrats, allegedly collaborated to forge deeds and documents dating back to 1932.
Several individuals in the state, including Soren's political aide Pankaj Mishra, have been arrested by the central probe agency. Soren had initially been summoned by the ED on November 3, 2022, but he did not appear, citing official engagements. He later requested a three-week deferment of the summons.
While the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has alleged that the Chief Minister is being politically targeted, the BJP has asserted that given the scale of corruption in the state, Soren will not find relief in any court and will ultimately have to face the scrutiny of the Enforcement Directorate.