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Ranchi court summons Hemant Soren for 'disobeying ED notices' in land grab case

ED had filed a complaint against the senior JMM leader sometime back, saying he had failed to join the investigation under seven summonses issued to him, the first being on August 14 last year.
Last Updated 05 March 2024, 06:31 IST

Ranchi: A court here has summoned incarcerated former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren next month holding him prima facie guilty of disobeying notices issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering probe linked to an alleged land grab case.

The agency had filed a complaint against the senior Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader sometime back, saying he had failed to join the investigation under seven summonses issued to him, the first being on August 14 last year.

He should be prosecuted under the Indian Penal Code's section 174 (non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant), the ED has said in its complaint.

Soren was arrested by the ED on January 31 on money laundering charges following a second round of questioning at his official residence in Ranchi. He resigned as the chief minister before he was arrested. The 48-year-old JMM leader is under judicial custody at present.

"From the contents of the complainant (ED) and the material placed on record, prima facie offence under section 174 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, is made out and there are sufficient grounds for proceedings under Section 204 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, against accused Hemant Soren," the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Krishna Kant Mishra said in its order issued on Monday.

"Office is directed to issue summons for appearance of accused person," the court said and fixed April 3 as the date of appearance of Soren before it.

Section 204 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) pertains to the powers of a magistrate to issue summons or warrant for the attendance of an accused.

A similar complaint has been filed by the ED against Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal before a Delhi court for allegedly disobeying the agency's summons three times.

The matter is listed for next hearing on March 16. Eight summons have been issued Kejriwal till now and he has not deposed, calling these notices illegal.

Kejriwal has last told the ED to question him over a video-conferencing platform.

In its complaint against Soren, the ED has accused that he 'intentionally omitted to obey the summons and to attend at the place and time mentioned in the summons', leading to non-compliance of the summonses issued by the investigation officer under Section 50(2) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The money laundering investigation against Soren relates to an alleged fraudulent acquisition of 8.5 acres land in Ranchi by him, apart from 'several other properties linked to him'.

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(Published 05 March 2024, 06:31 IST)

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