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ED arrests Hemant Soren after he resigns as Jharkhand CM; Champai Soren set to take over

"Hemant Soren has resigned as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand. The ruling JMM-Congress-RJD alliance has proposed the name of senior JMM leader Champai Soren as the new CM," state Congress president Rajesh Thakur said.

ED formally arrests Hemant Soren after resigning as Jharkhand CM; Champai Soren set to take over snt
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First Published Jan 31, 2024, 9:59 PM IST

Minutes after resigning from the post of Jharkhand Chief Minister, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday formally arrested Hemant Soren after over 7 hours of questioning in a money laundering case. Transport minister Champai Soren, one of the veteran leaders of the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, will step into his shoes.

JMM's Rajya Sabha MP Mahua Maji claimed that the 48-year-old Hemant Soren was in the "custody" of the ED. Earlier, Hemant Soren, who had evaded seven summons for questioning in an alleged money laundering case linked to the Rs 600 crore land scam, submitted his resignation to Governor CP Radhakrishnan at the Raj Bhavan, accompanied by legislators from the alliance.

"Hemant Soren has resigned as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand. The ruling JMM-Congress-RJD alliance has proposed the name of senior JMM leader Champai Soren as the new CM," state Congress president Rajesh Thakur said.

"We have staked a claim to form the new government with the support of 47 MLAs," JMM legislative party leader Champai Soren told reporters.

Previously, legislators convened at Hemant Soren's residence and elected the Transport Minister, Champai Soren, as the leader of the JMM legislative party. Party spokesperson Vinod Pandey confirmed that there was consensus on his candidacy.

Champai Soren, a legislator representing the Serikela assembly constituency for over three decades since 1991, is recognized as a loyalist of JMM supremo Shibu Soren.

Champai Soren was born in November 1956 in Jilinggora village, located in Jharkhand's Seraikela-Kharsawan district. He completed his matriculation and is the father of seven children. Hailing from a farming background, he is not affiliated with Hemant Soren's family.

Initially, there was anticipation that his wife, Kalpana Soren, would be considered for the position. However, due to the approaching state elections scheduled for November, the party had to abandon the notion.

By-elections are prohibited in the final year of any state assembly's term, which would have prevented Kalpana Soren from being elected as an MLA even if she had been appointed as the Chief Minister.

The land scam investigation revolves around a significant scheme involving the unlawful transfer of government land ownership and its subsequent sale to developers, as alleged by the agency. To date, 14 individuals, including Chhavi Ranjan, a 2011-batch IAS officer who previously served as the director of the state Social Welfare Department and deputy commissioner of Ranchi, have been arrested in connection with the case.

Soren has claimed that he is the target of a huge conspiracy. "The BJP conspiracy against him has succeeded for a while. But our government has majority and will continue," said state minster Mithilesh Thakur.

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