8.5 acres being illegally acquired by Hemant Soren to build banquet hall: ED to PMLA court

RANCHI: Following the scrutiny of a 201-page WhatsApp chat after the seizure of two mobile phones of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s aide Binod Kumar Singh, the Enforcement Directorate said that 8.5 acres of land was being illegally acquired by Soren to construct a banquet hall. In a 13-page remand note submitted before the Special PMLA Court in Ranchi on Monday, the ED said that a plan/map of the proposed banquet hall was shared by Singh to Soren on April 6, 2021 on his mobile phone.After his 10-day remand ended on Monday, the ED produced Soren in the court and pleaded that his custody be granted for four more days as the interrogation is yet to be concluded. The court, however, gave three days time to the ED for questioning.The ED, in its remand note, also mentioned that the images of the handwritten notes in respect of the said property recovered from the mobile phone of revenue inspector Bhanu Pratap Prasad and further investigation establishes the possession of Soren and also the fact that there was an attempt to falsify the records of that register so that the property can be entered in the name of Soren which was foiled by timely actions of this office.“The location of the proposed banquet hall mentioned in the said plan matches with the said 8.5 acres of land, which is illegally acquired and possessed by Hemant Soren,” it said.The ED also alleged that Soren has acquired the proceeds of the crime and has been misusing his position to destroy evidence linked in this case to show him disassociated from the properties under investigation.The ED told the court that Soren was requested to produce his mobile phone in which he had conversations and chats with Binod Singh. “However, he has submitted frivolous reasons for not producing his mobile phone to conceal information associated with the properties acquired and possessed by him, which are nothing but proceeds of crime,” the ED said in its remand note.The ED further added that a survey under section 16 of the PML Act, 2002 has also been conducted on February 10, 2024 in the presence of officials of the Circle Office, Baragai, Anchal Ameen, Binod Singh, Bhanu Pratap Prasad and it has been corroborated that the locality of the banquet hall, as per the plan shared by Binod Singh, and the area of 8.5 acres of land acquired by Hemant Soren under investigation are the same and further, there is no such big parcel of land available in the said locality where such a big structure can be planned for construction.The ED also claimed that Soren is directly involved in the process connected with acquisition, possession and use of the proceeds of the crime. Soren is knowingly a party with Bhanu Pratap Prasad in the activities connected with concealment of the original records for projecting the property acquired by him in an illegal manner as an untainted property, it said.“Further, the process or the activity connected with the acquisition, possession and use of proceeds of crime by projecting it as untainted property is a continuing activity and is continuing as on day as he is still directly enjoying the said proceeds of crime by its possession, occupation and use by claiming it as untainted property,” stated the remand note.

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