New Delhi [India], April 28 (ANI): In the backdrop of corruption allegations against Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, state Governor Ramesh Bais on Wednesday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and apprised him of the prevailing situation in the region, sources said on Thursday.
Bais met Shah at his residence on Wednesday evening and both leaders minutely discussed all issues in the state amid Soren facing charges of misusing his power and authority to benefit himself, his family and close aides, said the sources.
The matter pertains to the grant of in-principle approval for the stone quarrying lease in Chief Minister Soren’s name on government land on the outskirts of state capital Ranchi, which was cleared by the mines and environment departments, headed by the Chief Minister himself. Soren is accused of granting a stone chips mining lease to himself near Ranchi.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) is already probing if it amounted to the Chief Minister holding an “office of profit”, which could invite his disqualification from the assembly membership.
Notably, both the mines and the industries departments are under Soren, who is already in a legal tangle owing to the alleged allotment of the stone mine in Ranchi in his name.
Soren, elected to the House from the Barhait constituency in 2019, had applied for a stone mining lease on plot number 482 of Angara block in Ranchi district, measuring 0.88 acres, 13 years ago.
The complaint was referred to the ECI by Governor Bais for its opinion following a complaint from the opposition BJP. According to the complaint lodged by the BJP, it was after 13 years that on July 10, 2021, the district mining office, Ranchi approved the lease in favour of Soren, who was by then the chief minister-cum-mines minister.
The BJP alleged that it was a matter of holding an office of profit by the CM as he obtained a mining lease and a violation of section 9A of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951.
A PIL (public interest litigation) on the same matter, seeking a probe by central agencies, is also being heard by the Jharkhand High Court.
Soren’s party JMM and its ally in the government, the Congress, have dismissed the allegations and accused BJP of trying to destabilize the state government by creating an opportunity for the central agencies to target the Soren family and their associates.
Following a reference from Jharkhand Governor, the ECI had written to the Jharkhand Chief Secretary, seeking relevant documents and their authentication.
Soren is also accused of allotting nearly 11 acres of Adivasi land to Sohrai Live, a firm owned by his wife Kalpana, to set up a meat-processing plant. The land is located inside the industrial area at Bijupara under Chanho block in rural Ranchi.
It is also accused that over 11 acres were also allotted to Shivshakti Enterprises for stone mining in Sahibganj. The firm is owned by Chief Minister’s press adviser Abhishek Prasad alias Pintu.
However, another six acres have been given to Mahakal Stone Works at Mari Mauza in Sahibganj, which is owned by Soren’s local representative Pankaj Mishra. The former chief minister and BJP national vice-president Raghubar Das on Monday hurled these corruption charges. (ANI)