Ex-union Minister for Coal Shibu Soren captured from
coal mine, escapes again
In a daring pre-dawn swoop, absconding ex-union
minister Shibu Soren was captured by Jharkhand
police from a coal mine, but Soren managed to give
them the slip and escaped into the mine again
Our Mines and Minerals
|Shibu Soren's capture:
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader and ex-union minister, Mr Shibu Soren, was captured in a pre-dawn operation from a secret entrance next to a coal mine today early morning. The Jharkhand police did not arrest Shibu
Soren immediately, but to confirm the identity of the captured person, conducted a DNA test as well as teeth examination. The results of both
confirmed that the captured person was indeed Mr. Shibu Soren, ex-union minister for coal who had just yesterday submitted his resignation from the union cabinet to PM Manmohan Singh through his party colleagues.
|Soren during his Union
However, Mr. Shibu Soren managed to give his captors the slip in a short while, and escaped, much to the frustration of his captors.
Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda was informed of Shibu Soren's capture immediately after his identity was confirmed, and the CM called a press conference immediately. The press conference was
cancelled by a disappointed CM when he was informed just before the press conference that Mr Shibu Soren had escaped again. We have learnt that two police officers have been suspended by the IG of Jharkhand police.
During the course of Monday, more details started leaking out. Police officials aiding in the capture of the absconding union minister spoke to
strictly on condition of anonymity that Shibu Soren never denied his
identity when he was captured from a 'spider-hole' next to the coal mines. He had, instead, reasoned with the police that as union coal
minister (his resignation hand not been yet been
accepted by the
President till then, he said), he had every right to be in a coal mine.
Shibu Soren said that it was just a coincidence that he desired to test out the safety of miners in India's coal mines exactly when the Jharkhand police had arrived in New Delhi with a warrant to arrest him. "A minister does not have to ask anyone's permission to carry out his duties," he is reported to have argued with the police. "Nor do I have to inform anyone," he said.
Mr. Soren said that after more than a month in his position in the union
cabinet, he had acquired enough knowledge to personally
verify whether a mine is safe or not. "Miners are human too," he
Later in the evening, the police released a couple of photos of the capture to the press. One shows a haggard looking Shibu Soren being dragged out of a 'spider-hole' by the police.
"He must have been inspired by Saddam Hussein," the official said. It seems the police themselves were inspired by Saddam Hussein's captors too - hence the teeth examination. When
doubted the authenticity of the photos released, saying that the individual in the photo
looked more like Mr. Saddam Hussein than Mr. Shibu Soren, the official dismissed it saying that "after a few days in a coal mine, you expect him to look spick and span for a photo opp? You try staying in a coal mine for two days and even you may look like Saddam Hussein."
Dancewithshadows.com considered the idea, but declined after a miner told us that beer does not taste very good underground. "Anyway the teeth examination proved beyond doubt that the captured
person was Mr Shibu Soren," he said. If Mr. Saddam Hussein had half the skill of Mr. Shibu Soren, the Iraqi dictator would never have been captured, said the police official. He said that the ex-minister slid down a mining shaft and disappeared, but only after making a statement that no force on earth - not even Arjun Munda or BJP - can stop him from discharging his duties. The police tried to follow him into the
labyrinthine tunnels, but soon got lost and gave up the search. "Now that we know that he likes to hang around coal mines, it is only a matter of time before we catch him again,"
promised the police official.
Mines and minerals investigative correspondent