In a significant turn of events, Hemant Soren, former Chief Minister of Jharkhand and executive president of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) party, has been sent to a 5-day custody of the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on charges related to money laundering. The arrest, which took place on January 31, stems from accusations of “illegal” land possession and alleged ties with the “land mafia.” Despite legal challenges, the Supreme Court declined to intervene, prompting political repercussions in the state.
Political Turmoil Unfolds as Hemant Soren’s Arrest Triggers Leadership Change in Jharkhand
In the aftermath of Hemant Soren’s arrest, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Ranchi ordered one-day judicial custody. Attempts to seek relief from the Supreme Court were rebuffed, leading to heightened tensions. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi argued that the case warranted a thorough examination, particularly given the involvement of a former chief minister.
Petition Claims Illegal Arrest and Political Motives
Hemant Soren, in a petition, asserted that his arrest at the Raj Bhavan, where he had intended to submit his resignation as chief minister, was “illegal and malafide.” The petition alleged a misuse of authority by ED officers, suggesting external motives influenced by directives from the Central government.
Champai Soren Sworn In as New Chief Minister
Amidst the legal and political turmoil, Champai Soren, a JMM leader, assumed the role of Chief Minister of Jharkhand. The swearing-in ceremony, held at the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi, saw Alamgir Alam from the Congress and Satyanand Bhokta from the RJD taking oaths as ministers in the new cabinet.
INDIA Bloc Holds Majority in Assembly
With 29 seats held by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, 17 by the Congress, and additional support from the RJD and the CPI (ML), the INDIA bloc commands a majority in the 81-member Jharkhand assembly. The political landscape is now poised for a crucial floor test as the new leadership seeks to stabilize the state amidst ongoing legal challenges.