Political turmoil mounts for Jharkhand CM on Stone Quarry Lease, BJP seeks for Fresh Poll in the State

RANCHI: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has landed in hot water over the lease to a stone quarry in Ranchi, which was allegedly issued in his favour by the mining department. According to documents presented by BJP national vice president and former chief minister Raghubar Das, Soren misused his office to get a mining lease on a government-owned stone quarry in the outskirts of Ranchi issued in his name.

An office of profit means a position that brings to the person holding it some financial gain, or advantage, or benefit. It may be an office or place of profit if it carries some remuneration, financial advantage, or benefit. In the case of Hemant Soren, it has been alleged that he secured a mining lease for himself by using his discretionary powers and office.

The Raj Bhavan has also taken cognisance of the matter after a BJP delegation led by former CM Raghubar Das submitted a memorandum on February 10. Another delegation led by Babulal Marandi also handed over a memorandum along similar lines to the governor the next day.

The memorandums stated that Soren had brazenly violated Section 9A of Representation of Peoples Act 1951 by misusing the power of his office. The BJP alleged it was a case of office of profit as Soren secured the mining lease despite being the chief minister.

A reliable source said that around three weeks ago, Governor Ramesh Bais referred the matter to the Election Commission of India and sought its opinion. He had also sought a report and summoned the chief secretary to Raj Bhavan.

A PIL was filed by one Shiv Shankar Sharma in Jharkhand High Court seeking the disqualification of membership of the incumbent CM for misappropriation. Advocate Rajiv Kumar, representing the petitioner, said that Soren, while holding the post of CM and mines minister, got a stone quarry lease in December 2021. Moreover, the environmental clearance was also given in no time, he said.

“This shows the pathetic state of affairs in mines department in the state of Jharkhand,” the bench had observed. It then directed the advocate general and Soren to file their response separately within two weeks and fixed a fresh date of hearing for April 22.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad heard the plea on April 8 and issued a notice to Hemant Soren.

The former CM of Jharkhand, Babulal Marandi is called in Delhi to meet the central leaderships and apprise on the situations out there; prevailing the latest developments in the state after the stone lease allocated to incumbent CM Hemant Soren. It is expected that a fresh poll may take place after his disqualification.