Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren's wife Kalpana Soren might step into his shoes if he gets arrested, sources in his Jharkhand Mukti Morcha Party have claimed. Mr Soren will be questioned by the Enforcement Directorate today in connection with an alleged money laundering case. There are chances that he might be arrested by the agency after his statement is recorded.
Mr Soren, say sources, made the announcement at a meeting of the MLAs of the ruling alliance this evening. The MLAs have agreed since preservation of the government is crucial at this point.
"We, all the MLAs of the alliance, of Congress, are fully supporting the Chief Minister," Banna Gupta, the state's health minister who belongs to the Congress, told reporters on Tuesday.
There, however, might be a legal hurdle in Mrs Soren taking over.
Constitutional provisions demand that if the term of the Assembly will expire in less than a year, by-polls cannot be held. In that case, it would be difficult for Kalpana Soren to become an MLA.
Assembly election in Jharkhand is due in November this year.
If needed, legal opinion will be taken in this matter or someone else will take over at the top post, sources said.
The Rs 600-crore land scam involves a "huge racket" to change of ownership of government land, which was subsequently sold to builders, the agency has alleged.
The agency has so far arrested 14 people in the case, including 2011-batch IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan who served as the director of the state Social Welfare Department and deputy commissioner of Ranchi.
Mr Soren has claimed that he is the target of a huge conspiracy.