Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (File photo/PTI)
Soren left his residence around 2.30 am along with one of his security personnel, while another senior police officer who is part of his protective detail took a flight back to Ranchi. Mobile phones of the chief minister and his security personnel were switched off, while his family members, the CM’s office, and his colleagues in the cabinet and party expressed ‘ignorance’ about his whereabouts to the ED
The scheduled raids and questioning by the Enforcement Directorate of Hemant Soren, the chief minister of Jharkhand, unfolded in a dramatic manner from the early hours of Monday with the CM now “untraceable”, News18 has learnt from sources.
Soren left his residence around 2.30 am along with one of his security personnel, while another senior police officer who is part of his protective detail took a flight back to Ranchi. The mobile phones of the chief minister and his security personnel were switched off, while his family members, the CM’s office, and his colleagues in the cabinet and party expressed “ignorance” about his whereabouts to the ED. Hemant Soren’s BMW was taken away by the ED from his Delhi residence on Monday night, along with his driver.
The central agency is now looking for the chief minister and his aide, while BJP leaders in Ranchi are mulling a habeas corpus petition before the High Court, said sources in the party. Even though the investigation by the ED in Jharkhand has now taken a sensational turn with the chief minister “missing”, this is not the only drama that happened during the investigation.
In a statement posted on social media site X, Babual Marandi, chief of the BJP’s Jharkhand state unit, said, “Due to fear of the Enforcement Directorate, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has absconded from the Chief Minister’s residence in Delhi and gone underground for the last eighteen hours. According to media sources, late at night Hemant ji, wearing slippers and covering his face with a sheet, ran away from the residence on foot like a thief. Ajay Singh, the security personnel of Special Branch who went with him to Delhi, is also missing. The mobile phones of both of them have also been switched off, since then ED and Delhi Police are searching for them. There cannot be any other example of such gross negligence with the security of the Chief Minister.”
Marandi requested the governor to take appropriate action. “What could be more worrying and shameful than this that the Chief Minister of a state holding a constitutional post breaks the protocol and absconds like a thief-dacoit, leaving the state to the mercy of God. Who is the leader of the state in case of Chief Minister absconding? This constitutional question is important,” he added in his post.
The ED summoned the CM seven times in connection with stone mining and land scam cases. Soren appeared earlier this month, while he was scheduled to appear before the agency again on January 31. However, his party workers have been protesting across the state since Sunday against the ED action.
The JMM issued a statement saying ED officers had reached Hemant Soren’s residence in Delhi in the early hours of January 29 with several armed personnel, “which did not seem as per the law”.
“What was the hurry that ED’s officers could not even wait for two days? Isn’t this an insult of a democratically-elected CM? Can the Centre do anything with chief ministers of states when they are in Delhi? ” the JMM asked in a statement, citing Soren’s earlier letter to the ED that he would appear before it on January 31.