The row over the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) summons to officials of the Jharkhand government doesn’t seem to be dying, as the principal secretary of the Jharkhand government has now written a letter to the ED, seeking details of the summons issued by the agency.
According to the media reports, in the letter sent to the ED, the principal secretary has mentioned that after consulting with the law experts, it’s surfaced that summons under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) can only be issued if illegal money was generated under any of the schedule offences.
Further, the principal secretary in the letter has reportedly also expressed her astonishment over the raids of the central agencies on the government offices without any information to the State government and asked the agencies to reveal the crime of the officials under the schedule offence for which they have been issued summons.
The letter has been sent to the ED in the wake of recent summons issued by the central agency to Sahibganj Deputy Commissioner (DC) Ramnivas Yadav and Pintu alias Abhishek Prasad, press advisor of Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
It is worth mentioning here that ED had issued a summon to DC Ramnivas Yadav to appear before the agency on Thursday, January 10, though the official reportedly didn’t turned up before the agency, citing recent guidelines approved by the State government for state officials. The ED has also issued a summon to Abhishek Prasad to appear before the Ranchi-based office of the agency on January 16.
It is to be noted that earlier, the Jharkhand cabinet on Tuesday, January 9 directed all the state government departments not to deal with notices issued by the central agencies or hand over any documents directly to the agencies.
According to the reports, the State Government, in the guidelines approved on Tuesday, made it mandatory for the officials to inform the Cabinet Secretariat and Vigilance Department through departmental heads about any such notices issued by the central investigative agencies.
BJP slams the government’s move
The letter of the principal secretary has now triggered reactions from the opposition Bhartiya Janata party (BJP). Reacting sharply to the development, former Chief Minister and incumbent president of the BJP’s Jharkhand unit, Babu Lal Marandi, has said that the letter of the principal secretary clearly indicates that Hemant Soren’s government is officially protecting the corrupt and trying to obstruct the investigation of money laundering.
“Hemant Soren Ji, you should not only issue an official letter to save corrupt officials but also about the responsibility of grand loot that occurred in Jharkhand,” said Marandi further in a tweet posted on social media platform X.
कैबिनेट सचिव के पत्र से स्पष्ट हो गया है कि, हेमंत सरकार आधिकारिक रूप से भ्रष्टाचारियों को संरक्षण दे रही है और मनी लॉन्ड्रिंग जांच में बाधा डालने का प्रयास कर रही है।
— Babulal Marandi (Modi Ka Parivar ) (@yourBabulal) January 12, 2024
Further, the BJP president also alleged that a few officials are acting as Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) workers who are also obstructing the judicial process.
Earlier, the BJP stalwart, in another tweet, also trained guns on the Soren-led coalition government after the government issued fresh guidelines to the state officials not to directly engage with the summons issued by central investigative agency.
It is to be noted that earlier the Ed conducted raids on a number of locations including the premises linked to the Sahibganj DC Ramnivas Yadav and Abhishek Prasad in connection with an illegal stone mining case. The economic intelligence agency had also summoned Sahibganj Superintendent of Police Naushad Alam in the case. Furthermore, the ED has also issued as many as seven summons to the Chief Minister Hemant Soren in a separate case.