In his plea, Soren argued that the summons represents an evident misapplication of Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
Ranchi : In a significant development, Chief Minister Hemant Soren faces continued pressure from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as they issued fresh summons on Tuesday, marking the fifth time. The ED has asked him to appear before its Ranchi zonal office on October 4 for questioning related to a multi-crore land scam.
Soren has previously skipped four summons issued by the ED in the same case, providing various reasons for his absence. Despite his appearance before the ED on September 23, Soren sent a letter to the agency, requesting that the summons be suspended until the Jharkhand High Court renders a decision on his petition contesting the summons. However, the ED issued a new summons on Tuesday.
Having approached the Supreme Court initially, which directed him to approach the Jharkhand High Court instead, Soren is now pursuing the matter in the High Court. His petition contends that the summons represents a clear misuse of Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, which directly infringes upon his constitutional right to personal liberty. Section 50 empowers the ED to summon an accused and record a statement, with the statement being admissible as evidence in court.
Soren’s disputes with the ED began when he skipped the first summons on August 14 and sent a letter to the ED asking for the summons to be withdrawn, threatening legal action if it was not. Nevertheless, the ED issued a second summons to Soren, this time for August 24, which he again skipped, stating that he had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the summons.
The ED issued him a third summons despite his plea to the Supreme Court, and most recently, the fourth summons led to his appearance before the agency on September 23. The ED is investigating two major cases of money laundering in Jharkhand. The first case relates to illegal mining in Sahibganj, for which Soren was questioned on November 17 last year. The second case is linked to an alleged land scam in the state capital, for which Soren has been summoned twice by the ED. So far, 13 individuals, including IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan and two businessmen, Amit Agarwal and Bishnu Agarwal, have been arrested in connection with the alleged land scam.