Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader, Hemant Soren, stepped down on Wednesday night following over six hours of questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) regarding land ownership. The resignation comes amid an ongoing investigation, and his loyalist, State Transport Minister Champai Soren, is set to assume the role of Chief Minister.
During his custody by the ED, Hemant Soren met with the Governor and submitted his resignation. Jharkhand Congress president Rajesh Thakur confirmed the decision, stating, “CM Hemant Soren has decided to resign. Champai Soren has been chosen as the new leader of the Legislative party… All the MLAs are with us.” The JMM and Congress are coalition partners in the state.
Speculation arose when two mini-buses were observed entering the CM’s residence around 5.30 pm. Chief Secretary L Khyangate and DGP Ajay Kumar Singh arrived half an hour later.
This development concludes a series of events between Soren and the investigative agency, from the ED searching his Delhi residence to his party condemning the attempt to "malign" his image.
Earlier on the same day, an FIR was filed against senior ED officials under the SC/ST Act, based on Soren’s complaint regarding the searches at his residence. The ED had issued summonses to Soren in connection with an alleged money laundering case, but he consistently refused to appear.
Soren has been questioned three times, with the latest summons relating to the alleged proceeds of crime from illegal land transactions in Ranchi. In response to the ED's claims of seizing a BMW car and cash from his Delhi residence, Soren, in his police complaint, asserted that he is not the owner of the car and does not possess illicit cash. He accused the ED of intentionally trying to humiliate him publicly.
(With Agency Inputs)