M A I N   N E W S

Where is Sibu Soren?
Police searches residence, pastes arrest warrant
Tribune News Service and Agencies

New Delhi, July 21
The Jharkhand police today continued its search to arrest elusive Union Coal and Mine Minister Sibu Soren in connection with a 30-year-old massacre case.

A two-member Jharkhand Police team assisted by the Delhi Police searched the minister’s residence, besides questioning his staff about his whereabouts. “We have recorded the statements of two of Mr Soren’s staff members and will inform the court of all developments and wait for its direction.

For now the procedure is completed,” Jharkhand SP Neeraj Sinha said.

Failing to find him, a photocopy of the non-bailable arrest warrant issued by a court in Jamtara in Jharkhand in connection with the 1975 Chiruddia massacre was then pasted on the wall next to the main door of Mr Soren’s house.

But angry supporters of Mr Soren reportedly removed the notice and JMM MP Sunil Mahato said the entire action was “politically motivated.”

He said the minister would be seeking quashing of the arrest warrant against him on the ground that no summons were served on him.

Mr Mahato, however, denied the allegations that Mr Soren had absconded and said the Union Coal Minister was “among the people” interacting with them. The case was pulled out from the cold storage to tarnish the image of Mr Soren ahead of the Assembly elections early next year, Mr Mahato said.

SP Sinha said, “According to the Criminal Procedure Code, if a person against whom a warrant is issued is not found, its photocopy is put up outside his house. With this action, we have completed the responsibility given to us by the court and will inform it about the results.”

The searching team also met Delhi Police Commissioner K.K. Paul to request assistance of the local police. Immediately Mr Paul directed Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Anita Roy to make the necessary arrangements following which the police team searched Soren’s residence.

Meanwhile, choosing to remain silent on the whereabouts of Mr Soren, the Congress today alleged that the “mysterious” revival of the case against him was an act of BJP’s “political vendetta” and asserted that he was neither a proclaimed offender nor an absconder.

Seeking to turn the tables on its arch rival, the ruling party said there were similar cases involving Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda and few other BJP leaders. But the party took “sudden interest’ in Mr Soren’s case after it tried in vain for an alliance with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.

Interestingly, the Prime Minister’s Office today denied a report that Mr Soren had resigned from the Cabinet.

PM’s Media Adviser Sanjaya Baru said, “There is no truth in such reports being circulated. Since the past two hours I have been attending telephone calls to deny the report,” he said.

Ranchi: The Jharkhand High Court on Wednesday fixed the hearing of the writ petition filed by Coal Minister Sibu Soren against the non-bailable arrest warrant for Thursday.

The two-member Bench comprising Mr Justice J. Mukhopadhyay and Mr Justice Lakhsman Oraon told Mr Soren’s counsel R.S. Majumder that the writ was fixed for hearing before an appropriate Bench.

Challenging the SDJM court’s arrest warrants and property attachment order against him, Mr Soren has sought the court to direct the state government to withdraw the case registered under Sections 147, 148, 149, and 302 of the IPC.

He pleaded the court to quash the proceedings against him following the Jharkhand Government’s assurance in the first Assembly session after the state’s creation to withdraw all cases related to the Jharkhand movement.

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