Ranchi (Jharkhand): Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) for a copy of Governor Ramesh Bais's request letter to the election panel seeking a "second opinion" in the office-of-profit case.
The letter sent through the CM's lawyer Vaibhav Tomar on October 31 that was made public today stated, "My client has now come to learn from media reports that recently the honourable governor in a press interview has disclosed that the honourable governor has sought a second opinion from the election commission of India which is pending before the commission".
Bais, in a media interview, said that he had sought a second opinion from the ECI.
"The Hon'ble Governor has not communicated his decision in the reference, although more than two months have elapsed since the Commission tendered its opinion... (Soren) has now come to learn from media reports that recently, the Governor in a press interview given to the electronic and print media on October 27, 2022, disclosed that he had sought a second opinion from the Election Commission of India, which is pending before the Commission... (Soren) has not received any notice from the Commission in this regard," the letter stated.
Mentioning that the interview got wide publicity and created political uproar, the advocate has said,"In these circumstances without prejudice to my client's rights including but not limited to the validity/maintainability of the second opinion sought by the Honorable Governor, on behalf of my client, I call upon you to furnish to my client a copy of the request for opinion received by you from the honourable governor of Jharkhand."
Vaibhav Tomar had forwarded the same request earlier too which was denied by the election commission of India citing that this is a communication between two constitutional institutions which cannot be shared with anyone else.
Earlier, the EC had sent its opinion to Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais regarding the disqualification of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MLA and Chief Minister Hemant Soren's brother Basant Soren from the state Assembly under 9A of Representation of People Act, 1951.
Notably, a political crisis emerged in Jharkhand after a petition by the BJP sought Soren's disqualification from the Assembly in an office of profit case.The BJP has sought the disqualification of Soren as an MLA accusing him of allocating a mining lease to himself while he held the state Mining portfolio in 2021.In February this year, the BJP submitted a memorandum to the state Governor Ramesh Bais seeking the disqualification of Soren from the House under Section 9(A) of the Representation of People's Act.
The Governor had forwarded the BJP complaint to the ECI and the poll panel in May had issued a notice to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader. Notably, earlier on Thursday, ED had sent a notice to Chief Minister Soren and was asked to come to the zonal office of the agency to answer the agency's queries, however, he did not turn up and sent a time petition to the federal agency.
As per sources, the ED has not given any response as to when the agency intends to call him in the wake of the request made by him.Hemant Soren on Thursday challenged the ED to arrest him instead of sending summons to him for questioning.
Soren was to appear before the ED in its regional office in Ranchi on Thursday but he skipped his visit. Addressing the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) workers outside his official residence before leaving for Raipur to attend a tribal festival being organized by the Chhattisgarh government, Soren urged his party workers to be prepared for a long political fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).