Ex-CM seeks action against "mines minister" Soren after Singhal arrest

  • | Thursday | 12th May, 2022

Ranchi, May 12 (PTI) A day after the arrest of the Jharkhand Mining Secretary Pooja Singhal in a money laundering case, BJP leader and former chief minister Raghubar Das on Thursday sought action against the state’s mines minister. Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren who succeeded Das is currently holding the mines portfolio. Addressing a press conference here, Das, also the BJP national vice-president, said, “If the state mining secretary is suspended after her arrest, why not the mines minister?” The Jharkhand government on Thursday suspended Singhal with immediate effect under the provisions of All India Services (Discipline and Appeal Rules, 1969). The ruling JMM said the state government is mulling a probe into all alleged scams that took place when the BJP was in power in Jharkhand after its creation in 2000. The money laundering case against Singhal is linked to the alleged embezzlement of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme funds in the state. She is now in the custody of the ED. Das, who was the Jharkhand chief minister from December 2014 to December 2019, also challenged Soren to probe whether any scam had taken place during his tenure. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has been alleging that the ED action against the mining secretary is linked to the scam that took place during the tenure of the Raghubar Das-led government which had given her a “clean chit”. All those who gave her the clean chit should be probed, Soren had said on Wednesday. Replying to a question on the JMM’s allegation, Das said, “If any scam happened during my tenure and Singhal was saved at that time, why does the government not conduct an investigation?” A committee had been formed by his government under the chairmanship of the additional chief secretary to probe the allegations against Singhal, the former chief minister said. “The committee might not have found evidence against Singhal. Hence, a clean chit was given. The chief minister had no role in it,” he said. Two types of cases were going on in the MGNREGA scam—one criminal and the other departmental. The action taken by the ED is linked to a criminal case, Das said. Reacting to Das’ allegation, JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya told a press conference that the state government is seriously considering investigating all the scams that allegedly took place during the BJP regime including the period of Das. On Das’ argument that he had no role in giving clean-chit to Singhal, Bhattacharya said the ex-CM should clarify under whose order the officials gave it to her. The ED had produced the 2000 batch IAS officer before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court of Prabhat Kumar Sharma after two consecutive days of questioning by the central probe agency on Tuesday and Wednesday. She is now under the custody of ED. Das also alleged that Soren’s wife has bought two plots in the state capital illegally. The BJP met Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais in this regard on Thursday and handed him over a memorandum. On this allegation, senior JMM MLA Sudivya Kumar Sonu said that the investigating agency is doing its work. PTI SAN MM NN NN

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