ED attaches Rs 31-crore worth Ranchi land 'belonging' to Soren; court takes cognisance of charge sheet

Soren was arrested in this case by the ED in January and is currently lodged in the Birsa Mundal central jail at Hotwar in Ranchi under judicial custody.
Last Updated : 04 April 2024, 13:46 IST
Last Updated : 04 April 2024, 13:46 IST

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Ranchi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached land measuring 8.86 acre, allegedly owned by former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren in Ranchi, as part of a money laundering investigation against him and his associates, the federal agency said on Thursday.

It had filed a charge sheet against the 48-year-old JMM leader and four others --Bhanu Pratap Prasad, Raj Kumar Pahan, Hilariyas Kachhap and Binod Singh -- on March 30 before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court here.

The court took cognisance of the prosecution complaint on Thursday, the ED said in a statement.

The ED requested the court for confiscation of the 8.86-acre plot.

Soren was arrested in this case by the ED in January after he was questioned at his official residence in Ranchi by the ED. He had resigned as the chief minister before that. He is currently lodged in the Birsa Mundal central jail at Hotwar in Ranchi under judicial custody.

The money laundering investigation stems from multiple FIRs registered by Jharkhand Police in land 'scam' cases against several persons including government officials.

The prime accused in the case is former Jharkhand revenue department official and custodian of government records Prasad, who is alleged to have 'misused' his official position by providing assistance to several persons including Soren in their activities linked to illegal occupation, acquisition and possession of proceeds of crime in form of landed properties, the agency said in a statement.

"A racket of land mafia is active in Jharkhand which use to forge the land records in Ranchi," it claimed.

Probe found, the ED said, the ownership records of lands have also been 'forged' to extend favours to the said land mafia and subsequently, on the basis of forged land records, such land parcels are sold to other persons.

"Original land records of ownerships are either tampered or concealed to facilitate unlawful acquisition, possession and use of such properties," it said.

Prasad, the ED said in its charge sheet, was a member of a syndicate which was involved in acquiring lands by fraudulent means which included tampering with original government registers, falsification of government records and manufacturing fake documents.

The land that is alleged to have been acquired by Soren is about 8.86 acre in size and located at Baragain Anchal, Bariyatu Road in Ranchi.

It has been valued at Rs 31,07,02,480 as per urban residential property rate of Rs 3,50,680 per decimal, the ED charge sheet, accessed by PTI, said.

The agency said Soren was in the 'possession' of this immovable asset since 2010-11.

The agency claimed Soren and Prasad were 'knowingly' a party in the activities connected with acquisition, possession, concealment and use of proceeds of crime as well as projecting the said proceeds of crime (8.86 acres land) as untainted property.

Accused Pahan, Kachhap and Singh 'knowingly assisted' Soren in his activities connected with the proceeds of crime.

Soren, in his statement to the ED, denied having any link to the said property and said he had no relation with Prasad.

The ED said during its searches at a residential house 'under use and control' of Soren in Delhi on January 29, cash worth Rs 36.34 lakh, a BMW Luxury car and incriminating documents were seized.

It said Soren said in his statement given to the ED has said that he used this car on the same day and the agency claimed the former CM purchased it by personally visiting the vehicle showroom.

It said 16 people were arrested by it in the case including IAS officer and former Ranchi DC Chhavi Ranjan, Amit Kumar Agarwal and Prem Prakash.

Published 04 April 2024, 13:46 IST

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