ED likely to ask around 50 questions to J’khand CM Soren

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has prepared a set of 50 questions which would be asked to Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren who was summoned by the agency on Wednesday in connection with a money laundering case pertaining to illegal mining and extortion in Jharkhand and Bihar, a source said.

Soren has been called to join the investigation for Thursday.

“He will have to appear at our Ranchi office by 11 a.m. We will question him in parts. We are ready with around 50 questions,” the source said.

The ED had recently filed a chargesheet at a special court in Ranchi against Pankaj Mishra, a close aide of Soren, and Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash who are also said to be close to the Jharkhand Chief Minister.

The ED has also written a letter to the Jharkhand Police to make appropriate security arrangements ahead of his questioning.

The court has already taken a cognizance of the chargesheet.

The ED said that during investigation into the case, 47 searches were conducted throughout India on several dates resulting into the seizure of cash amounting to Rs 5.34 crore, freezing of bank balances amounting to Rs 13.32 crore, freezing of an inland vessel, 5 stone crushers, two Hyva trucks besides the seizure of incriminating documents along with two AK-47 assault rifles.

Earlier ED had arrested Pankaj Mishra, Bachhu Yadav and Prem Prakash. The accused are currently in judicial custody.

The ED initiated money laundering investigation on the basis of the FIR registered by Barharwa Police Station, Sahebganj District, Jharkhand under various sections of IPC, against Mishra and others.

Later on, several FIRs regarding illegal mining lodged under IPC, Explosive substances Act, Arms Act have also been taken into the ambit of scheduled offence.

Till date, the ED has identified proceeds of crime relating to illegal mining to the tune of more than Rs 1,000 crore in this case.

The investigation revealed that Mishra, who enjoys political clout, being the representative of the Chief Minister, controls the illegal mining businesses as well as inland ferry services in Sahebganj and its adjoining areas through his accomplices.

“He exercises considerable control over the mining of stone chips and boulders as well as installation and operations of several crushers, set up across various mining sites in Sahebganj. Proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 42 crore acquired by Mishra have been identified till date,” said the ED official.

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