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PIL in SC Seeks CBI Probe into Alleged Grant of Stone Mining Lease to Jharkhand CM Soren

PTI

Last Updated: February 21, 2022, 21:32 IST

New Delhi

The PIL has made the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Jharkhand government, CBI, and Soren parties to the petition. (File photo/News18)

The PIL has made the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Jharkhand government, CBI, and Soren parties to the petition. (File photo/News18)

It alleged that no proper process has been followed in the auction process which has been secretly held behind closed doors to give benefit to people holding important constitutional posts.

A PIL has been filed on Monday in the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the alleged nexus between the mining department of Jharkhand and Chief Minister Hemant Soren in the grant of stone mining lease in Angara block of Ranchi district. The PIL has been filed by one Pankaj Kumar, who claims to be the national President of Jai Prakash Janta Dal (JPJD) and also the Chairperson of the NGO, 'NavAakansha' also sought direction to the state government to cancel the licence and permissions granted to Soren for stone mining.

That on June 16, 2021, the District Mining Department, Ranchi issued a letter to the Respondent No. 4 (Hemant Soren) accepting his Letter of Intent (LOI) for mining at Mouza- Angara, Plot No-482, Khata No. 187, Block-Angara, Thana No-26 in utter disregard of the fact that the Respondent No. 4 is the sitting Chief Minister of the State of Jharkhand and as such the same was not only unethical but also in contravention, said the plea through advocate Sameer Kumar. It said that on July 10, 2021, the District Mining Office erroneously approved the mining plan and the progressive mine closure plan of Soren, and subsequently on September 9, 2021, the chief minister in utter disregard to his constitutional duties and morality submitted documents to SEIAA (State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority), Jharkhand for grant of Environmental Clearance (EC).

The PIL further said SEIAA, Jharkhand held its 90th meeting on September 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18, 2021 by which it granted EC to Soren, without considering the fact whether he could be given clearance for mining while he was holding a constitutional post. It is humbly stated that Respondent No. 4 is the sitting Chief Minister of the State of Jharkhand and hence his act of acquiring a mining license contravenes Article 191 of the Constitution of India. It is pertinent to state that the scheme of Article 191 envisages that if the 'pecuniary gain' is 'receivable' in connection with the office then it becomes an office of profit, irrespective of whether such pecuniary gain is actually received or not, the PIL said.

It alleged that no proper process has been followed in the auction process which has been secretly held behind closed doors to give benefit to people holding important constitutional posts. That the Respondent No. 4 has crucified the sanctity of the Chief Minister's office by indulging in nefarious activities with ulterior motives of making illegal enrichments, it said.

The PIL has made the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Jharkhand government, CBI, and Soren parties to the petition. It pointed out that the Code of Conduct for Ministers, formulated by the Government of India stipulates that a person immediately after entering office as a Minister, and in any case within two months from the date of assumption of office, shall sever all connections, short of divesting himself of the ownership, with the conduct and management of any business in which he was interested before his appointment as a minister.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)
first published:February 21, 2022, 21:32 IST
last updated:February 21, 2022, 21:32 IST
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