Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Monday gave a go ahead to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to register a preliminary enquiry into alleged disproportionate assets of five former BJP ministers in the state. The ACB had sought separate preliminary enquiry (PE) against each of the five former ministers following confirmation of the allegation after an initial investigation, an official release said.
The former ministers who are under scanner – Amar Kumar Bauri, Randhir Kumar Singh, Dr. Neera Yadav, Louis Marandi, and Neelkanth Singh Munda – were part of Raghubar Das’ cabinet. Four of the five former ministers are currently BJP MLAs.
“On direction from the cabinet secretariat and vigilance department, the ACB had registered an informative report. After conducting an initial investigation, the ACB sought permission from the department to register separate PEs against the five former ministers. Based on the ACB report, the department had sought permission from the chief minister,” the release said. The Jharkhand government on May 31 ordered a probe by the ACB to investigate into alleged disproportionate assets of the five former ministers in the wake of a public interest litigation filed by one Pankaj Kumar Yadav before the Jharkhand high court in 2020. The move comes at a time when the Jharkhand chief minister is facing fresh summons from the Enforcement Directorate to appear before it in Ranchi on November 17 for questioning in a money laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining in the state.
BJP’s Sarath legislator and former agriculture minister Randhir Singh said, “The action is nothing but a political vendetta. Since the chief minister is facing corruption charges, he wants to malign the image of the BJP. But I am not scared of any inquiry.”