New DelhiAccording to Commission sources, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has found enough evidence to maintain the ‘office of profit’ case against Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren.
ThePrint has learned that the Election Commission sent its opinion on the mining lease dispute involving Soren to state governor Ramesh Bais on Thursday. Bais will now decide on the question of Soren’s disqualification as an MLA.
According to Election Commission sources, the opinion was formed after considering the written submissions of Soren, Jharkhand Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh and others.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Jharkhand Nishikant Dubey told the media, “Our stand is correct as the Election Commission has recommended disqualification of the Chief Minister in the mining lease case. We will fight this case till the end.”
Governor Bais, who was in Delhi, reached Ranchi on Thursday afternoon and is expected to take legal advice before recommending Soren’s disqualification from the assembly.
It is believed that such a move could throw the Jharkhand government – a coalition of JMM, Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) – into disarray, and both the government and the BJP have started preparing for the scenario, it is learned. Is.
Trouble for Jharkhand CM started in February, when former CM and senior BJP leader Raghubar Das Guilty Soren had in May last year allotted a mining lease for a stone quarry spread over 0.88 acres in Ranchi’s Angara block and got it approved by the gram sabha in June 2021. Soren’s company had got environmental clearance for this. project in September
Soren himself holds two relevant ministerial posts – Forests, Environment and Climate Change, as well as Mines and Geology.
In a petition submitted to the governor in February, the BJP had sought Soren’s disqualification on the basis of provisions of Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951., As the demand for disqualification of the CM from the Assembly picks up, the Governor sought the legal opinion of the Election Commission on the issue.
Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act states that a person shall be disqualified (from membership of Parliament or a State Legislature) “if, and for such a long time, a contract has been entered into by him with the appropriate Government for the supply of, in the course of his business or business. goods, or for the performance of any act done by that Government”.
On February 11, a day after Das’s allegations, Soren surrendered the lease. In April, however, the slaves brought fresh allegations Against the Jharkhand CM, claiming that Soren had allotted 11 acres of land to his wife in the industrial cluster of Ranchi. Soren also holds the charge of the Industries Department of the state.
After Bais referred the matter to the Election Commission, the commission on April 8 sought relevant and “certified” documents related to the lease from Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh, which the Jharkhand government had then provided.
Later, the Election Commission also asked Soren to clarify his stand on the matter.
JMM sources said that after the commission sent its opinion on the matter to the governor on Thursday, the JMM has called all its MLAs to Ranchi to discuss the party’s stand on whether Soren is disqualified as an MLA.
According to sources, the party is likely to elect a new head of government and it is likely that Soren will try to put his wife Kalpana on the post.
Meanwhile, Dubey said, “After the resignation of the Chief Minister, we will take a decision as a constitutional crisis is emerging in Jharkhand.”
Party sources said the BJP is the main opposition party in the state and has called a meeting of leaders to chalk out a strategy in the event of a crisis.
“First we will see what happens to Hemant Soren. Many issues are at stake, but if he chooses his wife to head the state, it will not be a stable government,” said a BJP leader.
Dubey, however, said if the Hemant Soren government falls, the party will hold fresh elections in the state.
“This is a corrupt government which is falling because of its own corruption,” he said.
JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya Told ThePrint had said in May, “If he becomes disqualified, the question of making someone else the chief minister does not arise. The constitution states that a non-member (of the Legislative Assembly) can become a minister for six months, but has to be elected within those six months to continue. The same thing happened in West Bengal.”
He had also said that Soren would challenge any decision of the Election Commission recommending his disqualification in the Jharkhand High Court.
Jharkhand government and CM also did filed Different arguments in the Supreme Court against an order of the Jharkhand High Court. In its order, the High Court had accepted the sustainability of a PIL for investigation against the JMM leader in the matter.
sc stayed HC proceedings against Soren earlier this month.
(Edited by Polomi Banerjee)