PMLA court extends ED remand of Hemant Soren by 5 days
RANCHI — A special PMLA court on Wednesday extended the Enforcement Directorate (ED) remand of former chief minister Hemant Soren by five days in a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam, lawyers said.
Soren, JMM executive president, on February 2 was remanded to five days’ ED custody by the special PMLA (The Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court which ended on Wednesday.
“The ED had prayed for seven days of remand which we objected saying no further remand is required because he has already been interrogated for eight hours on January 20 and another eight hours on January 31,” Advocate General Rajeev Ranjan, who appeared for Soren, told reporters.
Apart from that, he has already been interrogated for 120 hours in five days.
“So, there is no need for any further remand. But they have tried to expand this scope of investigation beyond the predicate offence matter. We have been saying that they (ED) have no power and jurisdiction to investigate anything beyond the predicate offence,” the AG said.
The FIR has been lodged in connection with 8.5 acres of land which is there in the scheduled offence, he added.
“In today’s petition, they (ED) have used certain other chats which have nothing to do with the present land deal in which he has been arrested… They want to keep him in custody in the view of the upcoming (Lok Sabha) elections,” Singh said.
The AG claimed that the former chief minister has been kept in a basement room where even sunlight does not reach as there are no windows.
He said he has brought to the knowledge of the court that even air comes through a pipe in that basement room and Soren is constantly being monitored by the armed guards, even while sleeping.
Earlier during the day, the ED took the former CM to the civil court in Ranchi amid tight security.
Soren waved at his supporters, who raised slogans such as ‘Hemant Soren Zindabad’ and ‘Jail Ka Darwaja Tootega, Hemant Bhaiya Chootega’ (Jail doors will be broken, brother Hemant will be released).
Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren earlier met her husband at the ED office and posted on X on the occasion of their 18th wedding anniversary that she is the life partner of a warrior and will always be his strength.
She said her husband is not with the family on their wedding anniversary but she will not be emotional as he will “defeat conspiracy and emerge as a winner”.
“Hemant ji did not accept to bow down, to protect the identity and existence of Jharkhand. He chose to dedicate himself and fight the conspiracy. Today is our 18th wedding anniversary but Hemant ji is not among the family or children. We believe that he will defeat this conspiracy and emerge as a winner and join us soon.
“I am the life partner of a brave Jharkhand warrior. I will not be emotional today. Like Hemant ji, I will smile even in difficult circumstances and become his strength of courage and struggle,” Kalpana Soren posted on X.
Hemant Soren was arrested on the night of January 31 after a seven-hour grilling by the ED in the money laundering case. He resigned as the chief minister before that.