DC Edit | Hemant arrest raises questions

With a lot of courage, outgoing Jharkhand chief minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha supremo Hemant Soren said, “I won’t accept defeat”, as his first reaction to being apprehended by the Enforcement Directorate in Ranchi on Wednesday, less than an hour after he quit as CM by submitting his resignation to the governor.

Hemant Soren, who took charge as CM on December 29, 2019, was quizzed by ED officials for several hours, when he appeared before them finally after skipping nine prior summonses. Jharkhand will now have a 12th CM in its 23-year history as a separate state after being bifurcated from Bihar. Hemant Soren was the third chief minister of the state to be arrested, allegedly for his role in money-laundering linked to a land scam.

Hemant’s father and JMM founder Shibu Soren and Madhu Koda had also faced arrest on corruption charges. While Madhu Koda was imprisoned for alleged involvement in taking bribes in allotment of coal mines and accused of money laundering and accumulating disproportionate assets as well as having a hand in other hawala cases, Shibu Soren was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the abduction and murder of his private secretary.

After being arrested by ED sleuths late Wednesday night, Hemant was promptly sent to judicial custody. He will appear in court to face a hearing, in which the ED has asked for at least 10 days’ custody for questioning.

Interestingly, allaying rumours that his wife could be named as the next CM in a Rabri Devi template, the JMM legislature party elected Champai Soren, who is not related to him, as its leader and the next CM.

After his arrest, Hemant said, “Life is a great battle. I have fought every moment. I will not beg for compromise. Jai Jharkhand.”

But his arrest, ahead of elections, as an Opposition leader and a key constituent of the INDIA alliance does raise several questions. It also creates paranoia among other leaders across the spectrum who are outside the BJP-led NDA fold.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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