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Hemant Soren Faces Summons as Jharkhand Issues Significant Directive to Central Agencies

Hemant Soren
Photo Credit : News Karnataka

Ranchi: In a further intensification of the ongoing confrontation with the Central government, the Jharkhand administration has directed all its departments not to respond directly to queries from central agencies or hand over documents. This move comes amid Chief Minister Hemant Soren skipping seven summonses from the Enforcement Directorate. Instead, departments are instructed to report any inquiries to the Cabinet Secretariat or the Vigilance Department for proper processing.

While the Jharkhand government claims it aims to streamline the information-sharing process to prevent incomplete data from being provided, experts view this action as a form of non-cooperation with central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate, CBI, and the Income Tax department.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, a key player in the state’s coalition government with the Congress, is part of the INDIA alliance at the Centre. This move follows a trend of opposition leaders, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, criticizing the BJP-led government for allegedly exploiting central agencies in the lead-up to the Lok Sabha election.

In a confidential letter circulated on Tuesday, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Vandana Dadel instructed officials not to respond directly to notices or document requests from central agencies. Instead, they are to inform the Cabinet Secretariat and Vigilance Department. The letter highlights instances where officials participated in investigations and handed over government documents without notifying senior officers, deeming it an incorrect procedure.

Dadel emphasized that this practice led to incomplete or inaccurate information being provided, causing confusion and negatively impacting both the state government and central investigating agencies. The letter establishes the Cabinet Secretariat and Vigilance Department as the nodal department for sharing information with central agencies to ensure proper cooperation and avoid confusion.

Under the new procedure, officials receiving notices from agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, CBI, or the IT Department should inform their immediate superiors, who will then relay the information to the nodal agency. The Cabinet Secretariat and Vigilance Department will subsequently seek legal advice before sharing the information with the relevant agencies.

Despite the government’s claims of cooperation and process improvement, experts interpret this move as an attempt to impede central agencies’ access to information from the state.

The Enforcement Directorate has issued seven summons to Chief Minister Soren in connection with a money laundering case involving allegations of corruption and illegal land ownership changes linked to the mafia. Additionally, the ED has summoned Soren’s press adviser Abhishek Prasad and Sahibganj Deputy Commissioner Ram Niwas Yadav for questioning in a money laundering case related to alleged illegal mining in the state. The officials will be questioned under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Earlier, the ED had conducted raids on their premises and that of Sahibganj Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajendra Dubey on January 3, related to an illegal stone mining case in Sahibganj with proceeds exceeding ₹1,000 crore, as per PTI.

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