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JMM to file defamation case against BJP Jharkhand chief over comment on Hemant Soren’s ‘absence’

NEW DELHI: Jharkhand’s ruling JMM on Tuesday said that it will file a case against state BJP chief Babulal Marandi for allegedly defaming Chief Minister Hemant Soren by his comment on the JMM leader’s ”absence” in the state capital Ranchi.

JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya said a similar case will also be filed against a BJP MP who ”tweets frequently”, apparently indicating Nishikant Dubey.

Reacting to his statement, the saffron party said the ruling party can surely move court but its case will not stand judicial scrutiny.

The JMM also questioned the purpose of the visit of ED officials to Soren’s official residence in Delhi on Monday, when he was scheduled to face questioning by the central agency on January 31.

”The CM is not just an individual but a prime institution of the state. But, the way the BJP made allegations against the individual and institution, it qualifies the criteria for Section 499 of CrPC (Defamation). We will soon lodge a criminal case against the president and an opposition parliamentarian who tweets frequently,” he said.

Soren had left for New Delhi on January 27 night. Amid suspense about his whereabouts, he reached his official residence in Ranchi on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.

In his post on X, Marandi said: ”People heaved a sigh of relief as chief minister Hemant Soren, who had fled on foot from his Delhi residence late on the night of January 28, returned to the CM residence in Ranchi safe and secure, almost 40 hours later.” Marandi, a former chief minister, also took a dig at Soren, saying how much trouble Soren had faced during his rush to cover the distance of 1,295 km from Delhi to Jharkhand.

”Forget about Delhi, It seems that Hemant ji will not even dream of going anywhere across the border of Jharkhand, let alone by road or air, in the near future,” Marandi said. The federal agency searched the 5/1 Shanti Niketan residence of the JMM leader in south Delhi on Monday, and camped there for almost 13 hours in order to question him, officials said.

The ED has seized Rs 36 lakh, a BMW SUV and some ”incriminating” documents from there, they said.

About the ”recovery” of Rs 36 lakh, the JMM spokesperson said, ”Wasn’t that planned by ED and Babulal (Marandi) Ji? They are treating him (Soren) like a criminal but I would like to state that our CM is not afraid of anyone.” Citing the ED’s recovery of cash from Soren’s residence, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey wondered if the chief minister has been hiding his ”billions” of rupees after going ”missing” for 50 hours. In a swipe at the JMM leader, the Godda MP claimed his father Shibu Soran had also gone missing for 21 days while being a Union minister and the son has imbibed some of his attributes. The JMM also questioned the purpose of the visit of ED officials to Soren’s official residence in Delhi on Monday, when he was scheduled to face questioning by the central agency on January 31.

The agency had questioned Soren on January 20 in connection with a land fraud case and had issued a fresh summons, asking him to confirm his availability for questioning on either January 29 or January 31.

Bhattacharya asked, ”When the state chief minister Hemant Soren called the Enforcement Directorate to record his statement on January 31, why did they reach his official residence in Delhi yesterday?” In an email on Sunday, Soren has informed the ED that the agency is available to face questioning on Wednesday at 1 pm at his official residence in Ranchi.

Reacting to JMM’s threat of taking legal action, senior BJP leader CP Singh said the saffron party has not given any statement that qualifies for a case under Defamation law. ”If they (JMM) want to go to court, they can. But the case won’t stand the judicial scrutiny. In politics, people do blame each other. The fact is they (JMM) are afraid and frustrated,” Singh said.

 

Source: Press Trust of India

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