Gone are those days when an accusation of state governments went unheard in power circles of the Central government. The proof of the pudding lies in the fact that after former CM Raghubar Das’ accusations, the Hemant Soren government of Jharkhand has recently been subjected to go through legal machinery to prove its innocence.
ED raid on close aides of Hemant Soren
On May 6, 2022, Business Standard reported that the coveted Enforcement Directorate raided 20 locations allegedly linked to close aides of the Jharkhand Chief Minister. The report further mentions that most of these places were linked to Pooja Singhal, Mining Secretary of Jharkhand. Not just in Capital Ranchi, places located in Delhi, Rajasthan and Mumbai were also raided by ED. Reports also indicate that one of the places raided is a multi-specialty hospital.
“Jharkhand government, i.e. Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s close aide Pooja Singhal Ji, who allocated mines at a penny’s worth to the Chief Minister, brothers, operatives and touts, is finally being raided by the ED raids at 20 places. These raids are being conducted at Ranchi, Delhi, Rajasthan, and Mumbai,” informed Nishikant Dubey, a BJP MP.
According to a report by Indian Express, one house belonging to a Chartered account was also raided in Ranchi. Officials informed that a total of Rs 18 crore cash was received from the premise. It is being said that the CA has close links with Pooja Singhal, the IAS officer in question.
Election commission also takes charge
The matter of illegally allotting mining leases has come under the scanner of Election Commission (EC) as well. Though this is a different case as it is barely one year old charge. EC is investigating it from the ‘office of profit’ angle. While Hemant was holding the charge of the state mining and environment department, Soren allegedly awarded himself with mining leases.
EC has also sent a notice to Basant Soren, Dumka MLA and Hemant’s brother for lying in his election affidavit. Allegedly, while contesting elections, Basant did not disclose in his affidavit that he was a co-owner of a mining firm named—Grand Mining Works LLP. Moreover, EC has also asked him why he did not liquidate his shares after becoming an MLA in Jharkhand assembly.
Raghubar Das brought the issue into limelight
All these charges would have been thrown under the carpet if Raghubar Das, BJP leader and former Chief Minister of Jharkhand had not decided to shed his Raghubar Das syndrome. Recent months have been quite busy for the former CM as he has pointed out allegations after allegations faced by Hemant Soren and his government. Das came into action when he sensed that the Jharkhand administration was constantly getting weakened by its coalition partner Congress.
On 25th April, Raghubar Das held a press conference and levelled multiple charges against the incumbent CM and his family. He accused the CM of corruption, misuse of power, cheating tribals and succumbing to the pressure of missionaries and radical Muslims. He alleged that Hemant Soren misused his portfolios to dole out Adivasi’s lands to his wife, local representative Pankaj Mishra and Soren’s media advisor Pintu Prasad.
He claimed that the CM misused his power as the Minister of Industries and allotted 11 acres of tribal land to Sohrai Live, a firm owned by his wife Kalpana Soren. Evidently, the land allotted to Mrs. Soren is for a meat-processing plant inside an industrial area in rural Ranchi. Another 11 acres of land in Sahibganj was allotted to Shivshakti Enterprises, owned by Abhishek Prasad alias Pintu. Six acres were allotted to a company named Mahakal Stone Works in Sahibganj. The company belongs to Pankaj Mishra, CM’s local representative.
Das also accused CM Soren of trampling on democratic values and running the government only for his family’s gains. He said that the CM had succumbed to missionaries and removed the religion column from the caste certificate. He also accused the dispensation of ignoring the allurement of innocent girls by radical Muslims for marriage. Das further added that under the Soren administration, Islamists are grabbing the tribal lands by luring their girls for love jihad.
India has been subjected to multiple scams in the past. Coal scam is one of the worst scams ever thrust on the general populace. The government of the day did not take timely action after sniffing the threat. Modi government has changed that and it is expected to bring in more transparency in future allotments.