Chief Minister Faces Political Storm as ED Probe Continues

Headline: Jharkhand Coalition Legislators to Strategize Amidst ED Summons to CM Hemant Soren

Legislators of the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led coalition are set to convene in Ranchi on Wednesday to deliberate on the current political scenario, particularly in light of the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) summons to Chief Minister Hemant Soren. The meeting aims to formulate a strategy as Soren remains entangled in an office-of-profit case investigation.

Soren, who has faced six earlier summonses from the ED, accuses the BJP-led union government of leveraging central agencies to destabilize his democratically elected government. The seventh summons was issued last month, with the deadline for his response ending on January 5, according to sources from the Chief Minister’s Office.

In addition to the ED summons, the Election Commission had reportedly sent a letter to the former governor of Jharkhand, Ramesh Bais, in August 2022. The letter is believed to have recommended Soren’s disqualification as an MLA due to a mining lease renewal during his tenure as the state’s chief minister. However, neither Bais nor his successor C P Radhakrishnan opened the letter.

JMM general secretary Vinod Kumar Pandey called for a meeting of legislators from alliance partners on January 3 at 4:30 pm to discuss the prevailing situation.

Meanwhile, dismissing speculations about his wife Kalpana Soren contesting from the Gandey assembly constituency, Chief Minister Hemant Soren labeled it as a “complete imagination” by the BJP. He refuted any possibility of his wife entering the political arena in the near future and characterized the speculation as a fabricated narrative created by the BJP.

The recent ED summons to the chief minister, coupled with the sudden resignation of JMM’s MLA from Gandey, Sarfaraz Ahmad, has fueled speculation. The opposition BJP alleges that Ahmad’s resignation was orchestrated to pave the way for Chief Minister Soren’s wife to contest from the Gandey seat in case of any eventuality related to the ED summonses.