Probe Agency Arrests 3 More In Jharkhand Land Scam Case Linked To Hemant Soren

The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday said it has made three more arrests in connection with an alleged land grab linked money laundering case in which it had arrested former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and some others.

Sanjeet Kumar, Md. Irshad and Tapas Ghosh were taken into custody on May 9 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), according to the ED.

“These persons have been arrested for their role in forgery, tampering and fabrication of land records, thus changing the nature of lands which are designated as non-saleable under Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act (CNT Act), a legislation with objective to protect the land rights of tribal and marginalised communities,” the federal agency said in a statement.

Kumar and Ghosh worked as contractual employees at the Registrar of Assurances, Kolkata, it said.

A total of 25 persons, including Soren, IAS officer and former Ranchi deputy commissioner Chhavi Ranjan, former revenue department sub-inspector Bhanu Pratap Prasad and others have been arrested by the ED as part of this investigation.

Probe found that some of the lands acquired through “falsification and forgery” by the above stated accused persons are under “illegal” possession of Hemant Soren, the ED alleged.

Land parcels worth Rs 266 crore, including a clutch of plots acquired “illegally” by Soren in Ranchi, have been attached by the agency till now while three charge sheets have been filed following 64 searches and surveys conducted by it.

“A racket of land mafia is active in Jharkhand which is involved in tampering of the land records in Ranchi and Kolkata. Original land records of ownerships are either tampered or concealed to facilitate unlawful acquisition/possession/use of landed properties,” the ED claimed.

Subsequently, on the basis of forged land records, such land parcels are sold to other persons, it said.

48-year-old Soren, a senior Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader, has strongly denied land grabbing charges saying the money laundering case was foisted against him by the BJP led central government as part of a political vendetta.

He was arrested by the ED on January 31 from the Ranchi Raj Bhavan minutes after he resigned as the Jharkhand chief minister.

In a related development, the Supreme Court on Friday disposed of a plea filed by Soren seeking a direction to the high court to deliver its verdict on his petition challenging this arrest by the ED.

Enable Notifications OK No thanks