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Soren discards charges in book

Ranchi, April 15: Former coal minister and JMM supremo Shibu Soren today chose to tread cautiously, setting aside allegations levelled by former coal secretary P.C. Parakh.

In his book Crusader or Conspirator? Coalgate and other Truths, released yesterday, Parakh indicated that then Union coal minister Soren had scuttled a proposal for open bidding of coal mines a number of times.

However, the JMM rubbished Parakh’s claims as baseless. “This is an effort to malign the image of the tribal leader in the run-up to the polling,” Vinod Kumar Pandey, JMM spokesperson, told The Telegraph over phone from Dumka.

Asked for Soren’s views on the issue, Pandey quoted the party patriarch as saying that the matter was very old and he was not in a position to recall the things. “I would have taken a decision as per the situation and advice of senior government officials at that moment,” Soren was quoted as saying.

However, the 68-year-old JMM chief, who is contesting from coveted the Dumka (ST) seat, came in the line of fire soon after Parakh’s book was released.

BJP senior leader and former chief minister Arjun Munda did not waste any time to latch on to the ready-to-use weapon against Soren in the poll season.

“Revelations made by Parakh and Sanjaya Baru, former media adviser of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, have put serious question marks on the credibility of higher government offices,” Munda told The Telegraph.

Amid all attacks and counterattacks, Soren today visited several places in Jamshedpur and Giridih constituencies, seeking votes for party candidates Niroop Mahanty and Jagannath Mahto, respectively.

The two seats will vote on Thursday, the second round of polling. He returned to Dumka, his own constituency, in the evening.


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