New Delhi [India], May 2 (ANI): The Election Commission of India (ECI) has sent a notice to Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren over "office of profit" allegations against him regarding a mining lease.
He has been accused of having awarded himself last year while holding charge of the state mining and environment department.
The EC sent the notice asking him to explain why action should not be taken against him for having a mining lease issued in his favour, which prima facie violates Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Section 9A deals with disqualification for government contracts.
According to allegations levelled by former Jharkhand Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) national vice president Raghubar Das, Soren misused his official position to get a stone mining lease in Angara block of Ranchi.
Earlier in April, the ECI, in a letter to chief secretary Jharkhand Sukhdev Singh, had sought authentication of the documents related to the "office of profit" allegations on the Chief Minister, who also holds the mining portfolio.
In a response to EC, the chief secretary had recently sent the reply with full details of the said mines.
The matter came to light when Raghubar Das raised it on February 10, this year and demanded Soren's resignation.
A BJP delegation led by Das and the current legislature party leader Babulal Marandi had also met the Governor on February 11. The delegation sought disqualification and removal of Soren as chief minister while alleging violation of constitutional provision under Section 9A of The Representation of the People Act, 1951.
The Governor forwarded the documents to ECI, seeking its opinion. The ECI forwarded them to the state government seeking authentication before sending its opinion to the Governor.
Earlier on April 8, Jharkhand High Court issued notice to Hemant Soren while hearing a PIL filed against Soren in the same matter. The court had termed this as a "serious matter".
"This shows the pathetic state of affair in mines department in the state of Jharkhand," the court had said. (ANI)