Jharkhand Governor CP Radhakrishnan on Thursday denied allegations that Raj Bhavan was involved in former chief minister Hemant Soren’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case linked to an alleged land fraud.
Hemant Soren, also the JMM executive president, was arrested after a seven-hour grilling by the federal agency sleuths on January 31. After a few days, he alleged that Raj Bhavan was instrumental in his arrest as a “conspiracy” was hatched by the Centre.
“There is no question of misuse of Raj Bhavan. Every democratic norm has been very strictly followed by us…The former chief minister himself has agreed in his letter that he resigned before being taken to ED custody,” he added.
“I never know who the ED people are. I don’t know their names or faces. I saw them for a few minutes. If you want me to identify, I will not recognise them,” CP Radhakrishnan told a press conference here.
CP Radhakrishnan said Raj Bhavan did not ask Hemant Soren to resign as the chief minister, but it was the CMO which said he is going to put in his papers.
“It was the ED’s phone to our principal secretary saying we have taken custody of your Chief Minister and he is requesting us to complete his constitutional obligations of resigning. So, we are coming to Raj Bhavan so that he can resign. This is the first message we got.”
“The second message came from the chief secretary saying he is the chief minister… then my principal secretary said he is the chief minister till he resigns. The CMO also informed me that he is going to resign today. I kept waiting for three hours,” the governor said.
CP Radhakrishnan added that then the chief secretary dialled his principal secretary saying the Chief Minister cannot come alone with the ED people and some of the senior ministers should be allowed to come along with him.
“I told him three of the most senior ministers can accompany him…,” the governor added.
While taking part in the confidence motion moved by his successor Champai Soren in the assembly on February 5, the JMM executive president pointed an accusing finger at Raj Bhavan.
On the delay in inviting Champai Soren to form the government, the governor said, “The delay was on account of legal advice in an extraordinary situation… We called them after 26 hours.” About the JMM-led alliance’s allegations that there was a deliberate delay in inviting it for government formation unlike Bihar, CP Radhakrishnan said, “Was Nitish Kumar taken into custody by the ED? Did Nitish Kumar disappear for two days?” Stating that he is not the authority behind the ED, he said the central agency is an independent body.
“We had been informed by the ED (about Hemant Soren’s impending resignation) as well as the CMO. We had to take legal advice from experts on what should be done in such an extraordinary situation… I will never compromise with my duty even if I lose my life,” he said.
On slogan raising and disturbances during his address at the Assembly preceding the confidence motion, the Governor said it was a peculiar situation as he was addressing on behalf of the state government.
“This has not happened in any democracy anywhere in the world. I am addressing on behalf of the state government. All the ruling sides were standing and shouting. They wanted to take political advantage of every situation,” he said.
CP Radhakrishnan had read out his speech on January 5 amid slogans such as ‘Hemant Soren Jindabad’ and ‘Jai Jharkhand’ by the ruling MLAs in the House.
Soren took part in the confidence vote with permission from a court here.
Jharkhand’s JMM-led coalition government headed by Chief Minister Champai Soren won the vote of confidence on Monday after getting 47 votes in the 81-member assembly, following which the ruling alliance claimed that it was a “slap” on the face of BJP that tried to destabilise a democratically elected government.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)