Hemant Soren's Arrest: Former Jharkhand CM sent to 1-day judicial custody

A Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Ranchi on Thursday remanded former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren to judicial custody for one day.

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Courtesy: Telegraph

In recent developments, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren found himself at the center of a political maelstrom following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a land scam case. 

Arrest and Legal Proceedings

Hemant Soren, arrested on Wednesday, faced the PMLA court on Thursday as the ED sought custody. The court, however, reserved its order, adding suspense to the unfolding drama. Soren, challenging his arrest in the Supreme Court, is set to spend the night in jail, marking a critical moment in the legal battle.

Political Fallout

Within the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), support for Champai Soren surfaced, and 43 MLAs rallied behind him. The arrest, strategically timed after Hemant Soren's resignation, sets the stage for a potential change in leadership. The state's political landscape is on the brink of transformation.

Allegations and Counter-Allegations

Amidst the legal tussle, Soren lodged an FIR against ED personnel, accusing them of harassment. Evasive answers during questioning further intensified the confrontation between the former Chief Minister and the probe agency. The aftermath of Soren's resignation witnessed Champai Soren staking a claim to form a new government. 

Money Laundering Accusations

The ED, seeking maximum custody, has alleged non-cooperation and presented material evidence linking Hemant Soren to the land scam case. 

Hemant Soren preemptively announced in a letter to Opposition MLAs that he would choose his successor if he had to resign. After seven hours of questioning, Soren tendered his resignation to the Governor and was subsequently arrested. Transport Minister Champai Soren was elected as the new leader of the legislative party.

Hemant Soren, in a video message before his arrest, claimed that the ED planned his arrest without evidence. Following the arrest, he vowed to continue fighting in a social media post.

Congress leaders criticized the move, with Mallikarjun Kharge calling it a blow to federalism, and Rahul Gandhi accusing investigative agencies of being a tool to eliminate opposition. The BJP, on the other hand, labeled Hemant Soren as "one more feather of corruption" in the opposition's cap.

Meanwhile, Hemant Soren has approached the Supreme Court challenging his arrest, and his plea is set to be heard on Friday. Protests against the arrest have led to a call for a Jharkhand bandh, with tribal organizations expressing their discontent.