The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a fresh summons to Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren in a money-laundering case less than 48 hours after he said he would not be cowered by the BJP-led Centre’s threats of sending him to jail.
“He has been asked to join the investigation into alleged money laundering on the morning of August 24. This is the second summons. Earlier, he was asked to appear before the ED on August 14 in the land scam case,” an ED official said.
At a public meeting in Dumri on Thursday, Soren had said attempts were made to silence the Jharkhand government with the help of ED, the income tax department and the CBI whenever it asked for its dues from the Centre. Soren was in Dumri for the filing of nomination by JMM candidate Bebi Devi (representing the INDIA parties) for the bypoll scheduled on September 5.
“When we asked for our legitimate dues of Rs 1.36 lakh crore pending with the coal ministry, the BJP-led Centre sent the ED to threaten us with arrest. Par Adivasi kabhi jail jane se darta hai kya (But do tribals fear going to jail)?” Soren had said.
Soren had on Monday shot off a letter to the assistant director of the ED in Ranchi, Deovrat Jha, threatening to take legal action if the summons issued on August 7 was not withdrawn. “Your choice of the date (August 14) does not come as a surprise to the undersigned.... The summon... is... part of the design to besmirch the reputation not only of the undersigned but also the elected government,” the letter stated.
A senior ED official, who asked not to be identified, said: “The chief minister is free to take legal remedies. But we have got several strands of evidence against him and hence need to question him.”