Soren sacks two ministers on corruption charges

Ranchi, Dec 18 (IANS) Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren Thursday sacked two ministers from his cabinet for allegedly amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income, official sources said.

The two ministers who have been sacked are Rural Development Minister Enos Ekka and Urban Development Minister Harinarayan Rai.

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“Both ministers have been sacked in the light of the first information report (FIR) lodged against them by the vigilance department,” Soren told reporters here Thursday.

On November 26 an FIR was lodged against both ministers by the vigilance department.

The charges against the two ministers include swindling of government funds, amassing wealth through illegal means and other misappropriation.

The court directed the vigilance department to lodge the FIR while hearing a petition filed by Vinod Kumar, a resident of Deoghar district of Jharkhand.

Vinod Kumar in his petition alleged that both ministers had amassed wealth more than their known sources of income since they became legislators and later ministers in 2005.

Ekka during the 2005 assembly elections had disclosed his assets to consist of Rs.50,000 cash, investment of Rs.700,000, one motorcycle, one tractor and some other assets.

At present, Ekka is allegedly the owner of properties, including land, worth more than Rs.500 million. Rai allegedly owns property worth more than Rs.300 million.

Ekka had also dared Soren to sack him from the cabinet as he would not withdraw his party’s candidate in the assembly by-election.

Ekka’s party has fielded Raja Peter to take on Soren in the Dec 29 by-poll.

Soren threatened to sack Ekka if he did not withdraw Peter’s candidature.

Soren, who is not a legislator, needs to get elected to the assembly before Feb 27.