The ED is questioning Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren in connection with a money laundering case of over Rs 1,000 crore through illegal mining and transporting in Jharkhand’s Sahibganj district. Earlier, on Thursday itself, Soren wrote a letter to ED’s Assistant Director Devvrat Jha and presented his case in total 12 points. In the letter, he completely rejected the ED’s statement of revenue loss of more than 1000 crores due to illegal mining in Sahibganj district during the tenure of his government. CM Hemant Soren has asked the ED to desist from making such sensational and irresponsible statements as it tarnishes the image of entire Jharkhand.
ED will investigate impartially – Hemant Soren
Soren has said in a letter to the Assistant Director of the ED that he expects the ED to conduct a fair investigation without any hidden agenda and motive. The CM has written that he has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and is appearing in compliance of ED’s summons to discharge his responsibilities as an honest citizen of the country and obey the law. In the letter, the Chief Minister has said that every state rich in natural wealth is suffering from the curse of illegal mining and Jharkhand is no exception to it. They are determined to eliminate illegal mining from the state of Jharkhand and welcome any agency’s sincere efforts in this direction.
After the formation of his government on 29 December 2019, a significant increase has been registered in the royalty received from stone mining. Royalty has increased in the last 2 years despite the mining operations being affected due to Corona. In the year 2019-20, the state got royalty of Rs 270 crore, which increased to Rs 360 crore in 2021-22. About 20 percent of the royalty received by the state from stone mining comes from Sahibganj, but from the statement of ED it seems that illegal mining scam of one thousand crore rupees has happened in Sahibganj only. Such a statement is contrary to facts and figures.
9 crore metric tonnes of stone mined in the state
Citing the figures of the mining department, the CM has said that in the last 2 years, about 9 crore metric tonnes of stone has been mined in the entire state of Jharkhand. Sahibganj district’s share in this is 20 percent. In this district, there can be a loss of royalty of one thousand crore rupees in two years, when illegal mining of about 8 crore metric tonnes of stone has taken place in Sahibganj district. This quantity is four times the legal mining in that district. If there is illegal mining of stones in such quantity, then more than 20 thousand railway racks or more than 33 lakh trucks will be required for its transportation. Since Railways does not allow loading without challan, it is not possible. He has told the ED that you have not found a single railway rack without a challan, nor have you taken action against any railway officer in this matter.
There is a need to improve the figures of the mining department
According to Hemant Soren’s letter, ED has used 6500 railway rakes for transporting illegally extracted stones in Sahibganj during the last two years. Even if such a number of illegal stones are being transported through railway racks, it is not possible that 80 million metric tonnes of stones can be moved from Sahibganj to another place. If transporting such a large quantity of stones is done through trucks, then 4500 trucks will be required to be deployed for this work everyday, while only 800 trucks are registered and running in the entire Sahibganj district.
ED issues wrong statement of illegal mining
Similarly, CM Hemant Soren, citing many figures, has claimed that such a large quantity of stones cannot be transported in two years through railways, trucks and ships, due to which the state would suffer royalty loss of Rs 1000 crore. He has told that in lieu of stone mining, the state has received royalty of Rs 750 crore from all the districts in two years, while on the contrary, ED has issued a statement of illegal mining of Rs 1000 crore without verifying the facts and figures. Such a sensational statement does not suit the ED.
Hemant Soren has said in this letter that the main opposition party of the state BJP has got expelled JMM treasurer Ravi Kejriwal to give a statement against him to implicate him. Ravi Kejriwal was expelled from JMM in 2020 itself and an FIR was also lodged against him by the party. Because of this he has become my sworn enemy. Soren has said that he would not be surprised if Ravi Kejriwal leveled false allegations against him to take personal vendetta from him.
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