ED takes Ex-Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren into custody over purported land scandal

Hemant Soren was taken into custody by Enforcement Directorate officials in Ranchi on Wednesday shortly after he resigned from the position of Jharkhand Chief Minister.

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Courtesy: ANI

In a dramatic turn of events on Wednesday evening, Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren was arrested by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in connection with an alleged land scam case, sources confirmed.

Soren's arrest came after he tendered his resignation as Chief Minister to Governor C.P. Radhakrishnan earlier in the day following over six hours of questioning by ED officials.

The ED had summoned Soren for questioning for the tenth time regarding allegations of money laundering linked to the purported land scam. Soren has maintained the ED's actions are politically motivated to destabilise his government.

With Soren's resignation, his loyalist Champai Soren is set to take over as Jharkhand's new Chief Minister. Champai Soren currently serves as the state's Transport Minister and is a seven-time MLA representing the Seraikella constituency. He was previously an independent MLA before joining the JMM.

Champai Soren gained prominence during the movement for Jharkhand's statehood and became known as the 'Tiger of Jharkhand'. "We have chosen Champai Soren as the leader of the Legislative Party. We came to Raj Bhawan to request the governor for the oath ceremony," JMM leader Banna Gupta told reporters after meeting with the governor.

The day's dramatic developments follow ED officials arriving at Soren's Ranchi residence on Wednesday morning for another round of questioning. Heavy police deployment was seen outside Soren's home, with section 144 imposed in a 100-metre radius.

JMM workers gathered at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi to protest the ED's actions, chanting "Hemant Soren Zindabad." Soren has maintained his cooperation with the investigation but criticised its timing as an effort to destabilise his government. The ED alleges Soren was involved in a "huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia."

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