Soren quits as Jharkhand CM as ED arrests him

Champai Soren, the state transport minister and a loyalist of Hemant Soren, will step into his role as the Chief Minister. …reports Asian Lite News

Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Chief Hemant Soren resigned on Wednesday evening after over six hours of questioning by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in connection with a money laundering probe linked to the alleged land scam case.

Champai Soren, the state transport minister and a loyalist of Hemant Soren, will step into his role as the Chief Minister. 

“Hemant Soren has resigned from the post of CM. We have the support of 47 MLAs and have proposed to form a new government. Champai Soren will be our new Chief Minister. We have not been given time for swearing in…” Jharkhand Minister Alamgir Alam said while speaking to media.

In the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led alliance, which includes Congress and RJD ruling has 47 MLAs, including 29 of JMM, 17 of Congress, and 1 of RJD. The BJP has 25 members and the AJSU party has three MLAs. The NCP and CPI (ML)L have one member each, apart from 3 Independents.

Hemant Soren met Governor CP Radhakrishnan at Raj Bhawan and submitted his resignation. Meanwhile, the JMM leaders confirmed that Soren is in ED custody.

“The CM is in ED custody. The CM has gone to the governor with the ED team to submit his resignation. Champai Soren will be the new Chief Minister… We have enough numbers,” JMM MP Mahua Maji told reporters.

Champai Soren, the state transport minister, is a seven-time MLA and he represents the Seraikella constituency in Jharkhand. Before joining the JMM, he was an independent MLA.

He actively participated in the movement for the separate statehood of Jharkhand and rose to prominence during that movement. Later, Champai came to be known as the ‘Tiger of Jharkhand.’

“We have chosen Champai Soren as the leader of the Legislative Party. We came to the Raj Bhawan to request the governor for the oath ceremony,” JMM leader and state minister Banna Gupta told reporters.

Earlier in the day, a team of ED officials arrived at the residence of Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren for questioning in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam.

As per sources, the ED had issued a fresh summons to Soren, asking him to be available for questioning on January 29 or 31, or else the agency itself will go to him for questioning. This is the tenth summons issued to the Jharkhand Chief Minister, by the ED.

According to the ED, CM Soren was questioned as a part of the probe into the ‘huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia’.

The probe pertains to huge amounts of proceeds of crime generated by forging official records by showing ‘fake sellers’ and purchasers in the guise of forged or bogus documents to acquire huge parcels of land having value in crores.

‘Blow to Federalism

Reacting sharply to the resignation of Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said that forcing Hemant Soren to resign is a blow to Federalism.

In a post on ‘X’, Mallikarjun Kharge said, “One who will not go with PM Modi will go to jail. Imposing ED against Jharkhand Chief Minister, Hemant Soren and forcing him to resign is a blow to Federalism. Intimidating opposition leaders by making the provisions of PMLA draconian is part of the BJP’s tool kit.”

He further said that the BJP’s work of destabilising the opposition governments one by one as part of a conspiracy was continuing.

“Whoever went into the BJP’s washing machine is clean as white; who didn’t go was tainted. If democracy has to be saved from dictatorship, then the BJP will have to be defeated. We will not be afraid, Will continue to fight from Parliament to the streets,” he added.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav also sharply reacted to the ED’s move: “Bihar, Chandigarh and now Jharkhand! BJP has ruined democracy and federalism in a single week. It is not hidden from anyone what the central government is doing by destroying the impartiality of the investigating agencies due to the fear of electoral defeat and by making the agencies cells of the BJP,” he said.  (ANI)

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