In a massive political development, the Enforcement Directorate summoned Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren for questioning on Thursday. As per sources, he has been asked to appear before the ED at 11 am tomorrow in connection with the illegal mining scam. The ED has already arrested Soren’s alleged key aide Pankaj Mishra in this case. It has also carried out multiple searches across the country in this case during the last few months.
The illegal mining case
In March earlier this year, the ED filed a PMLA case against Pankaj Mishra and others alleging that he “illegally amassed huge assets in his favour”. Subsequently, it conducted raids and froze deposits of Rs.11.88 crore lying in 37 bank accounts belonging to Mishra and Dahoo Yadav, a person linked to him. Moreover, “unaccounted cash” amounting to Rs. 5.34 crore was also seized by the central agency, which claimed that the money was linked to illegal mining in Jharkhand. It also seized 5 stone crushers that were illegally operating and an equal number of illegal firearm cartridges.
Suspecting his involvement in money laundering, Mishra was taken into custody by the ED on July 19. While he is languishing in jail at present, the central agency also arrested his alleged muscleman Bachhu Yadav for his connection with activities related to illegal mining and transportation. According to sources, Mishra got political patronage and had influence over administrative matters. Sources added that he allegedly used his clout in his activities of illegal mining and ferry services. He has also been accused of allegedly backing questionable persons for illegitimate activities.