The Law Enforcement (ED) Directorate has summoned the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren, for questioning in connection with the money laundering prevention case regarding illegal mining and mining. extortion, sources said Wednesday.
“Hemant Soren has been called to join the investigation for Thursday. He is due to report to our Ranchi office tomorrow at 11 a.m.,” the source said.
ED had recently filed an indictment in a special court in Ranchi against Pankaj Mishra, a close associate of Soren, and Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash who are also believed to be close to Jharkhand CM.
The ED also wrote a letter to the Jharkhand Police Commissioner to make proper security arrangements ahead of his interrogation.
The court has already seen the indictment.
The ED said that during the investigation of the case, searches were carried out 47 times across India on several dates resulting in the seizure of cash amounting to 5.34 crores of rupees, freezing of bank balances amounting to Rs 13.32 crore, freezing of an inland vessel MV Infralink -III, registration number – WB 1809, five stone crushers, two Hyva trucks in addition to the seizure of incriminating documents as well as two AK 47 assault rifles.
Earlier, ED arrested Pankaj Mishra, Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash. The defendants are currently in custody.
The ED initiated the money laundering investigation based on an FIR registered by Barharwa Police Station, Sahebganj District, Jharkhand under various sections of the IPC, against Mishra and others.
Later, several FIRs regarding illegal mining filed under the IPC, Explosive Substances Act and Arms Act were also invoked.
Till date, the ED has identified proceeds of crime related to illegal mining to the tune of over Rs 1,000 crore in this case.
The PMLA investigation revealed that Mishra, who enjoys political clout, being the representative of the Chief Minister, controls illegal mining companies as well as domestic ferry services in Sahebganj and its adjacent areas through his accomplices.
“He exercises considerable control over the extraction of stone chips and boulders as well as the installation and operation of several crushers, installed at various mining sites in Sahebganj. The proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 42 crore acquired by Mishra have been identified till date,” the ED official said.
Further investigation into the matter was underway.