Hemant Soren was first detained by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday, shortly after he resigned as chief minister of Jharkhand, in accordance with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), as part of the ED’s investigation into a purported land scam in the state, according to those with knowledge of the development.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief was the target of a complex federal agency set-up two days ago, with teams stationed outside his apartment and airport here. However, on Tuesday, he was able to evade capture and travel by road from the nation’s capital to Ranchi.
Over the years, a network of brokers and businessmen forged documents in the registrar offices to create fictitious deeds of landed parcels, which they then sold off.
“We have evidence that Hemant Soren had grabbed some parcel of land under probe in Jharkhand, which was illegally obtained by others through falsified documents,” averred an officer.
Amit Kumar Agarwal, a businessman from Kolkata who was detained by the ED on June 7 of last year, is also crucial to Soren’s arrest because he is said to have handled tainted cash belonging to a number of politicians, including Rajeev Kumar, the chief minister of Jharkhand at the time.
He eventually consented to be questioned by the ED on January 20 at his Ranchi home after he had resisted being questioned by them on at least seven occasions since August of previous year.
The JMM leader tendered his resignation to the governor on Wednesday, and the ED team arrived at his official residence in the state capital. They questioned him for nearly seven hours before placing him under custody at the agency’s Ranchi office at around 10 p.m.
He will appear in court on Thursday, according to officials, and the agency will detail the precise charges brought against him.