Shibu Soren was born on 11 January 1944 in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, is an Indian politician is a former Chief Minister of Jharkhand state in India. He was sworn in as the 7th Chief Minister of Jharkhand on December 30, 2009 after winning the Jharkhand Assembly elections. He resigned on May 30, 2010 after failing to obtain coalition support from the Bharatiya Janata Party, his national party partner. He previously represented the Dumka constituency of Jharkhand in the 14th Lok Sabha, and is the President of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) political party, a constituent of the UPA.
Soren was born in Nemra village of Ramgarh district, in what was, at the time, Bihar state, India. He completed his schooling in the same district. After schooling, he married and worked with his father, a local farmer. He has three sons — Durga, Hemant, and Basant — and a daughter, Anjali. Durga Soren died on 22 May 2009 in Bokaro. He Was 39.
Soren began his political career in the early 1970s and quickly became known as a tribal leader. On 23 January 1975, he allegedly incited a mob attack in Chirudih village in Jamtara district in a campaign to drive away “outsiders”, a term used to describe non-tribals. At least eleven people were killed. Soren and numerous others were charged with various crimes related to this incident. After extended legal proceedings, Soren was acquitted on March 6, 2008. However, possibly related incitement charges—dating from two yet earlier (1974) deaths—remain pending.
He lost his first Lok Sabha election in 1977. He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980. In 1986, an arrest warrant was issued against him. He was subsequently elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989, 1991 and 1996 as well. In 2002, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha with the help of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He won the Dumka Lok Sabha seat in a by-election the same year and resigned his Rajya Sabha seat. He was re-elected in 2004.
He became the Union Coal Minister in the Manmohan Singh government, but was asked to resign following an arrest warrant in his name in the thirty-year old Chirudih case. After the warrant was issued, he initially went underground. He resigned on 24 July 2004. He was able to secure bail after spending over a month in judicial custody; released on bail on September 8, he was re-inducted into the Union Cabinet and given back the coal ministry on 27 November 2004, as part of a deal for a Congress-JMM alliance before assembly elections in Jharkhand in February/March 2005.
On 2 March 2005, after much political bargaining and quid pro quo he was invited to form the government in Jharkhand by the Governor of Jharkhand, Syed Sibtey Razi. He resigned as Chief Minister nine days later, on 11 March, following his failure to obtain a vote of confidence in the assembly.
On January 9, 2009, Soren was defeated in the by-election to the Tamar assembly constituency to political novice Gopal Krishan Patar alias Raja Peter of the Jharkhand Party by a margin of over 9,000 votes. Soren was earlier reappointed as Chief Minister of Jharkhand on August 27, 2008 after his life term in the Shashinath Jha murder case was set aside by the Delhi High Court in August, 2007 citing the CBI as “miserably failing” in proving Soren’s involvement in the crime. After the Assembly elections Soren once again formed the Government along with the BJP, and was sworn in as chief minister of Jharkhand on 30 December 2009.
He was the Minister for Coal in the Union Cabinet in November 2006, when a Delhi district court found him guilty in the murder of his private secretary Shashi Nath Jha in 1994. He has also been indicted in the past on other criminal charges.
On 28 November 2006, Soren was found guilty in a twelve year old case involving the kidnapping and murder of his former personal secretary Shashinath Jha. It was claimed that Jha was abducted from the Dhaula Kuan area in Delhi on May 22, 1994 and taken to Piska Nagari village near Ranchi where he was killed. The CBI chargesheet stated that Jha’s knowledge of the reported deal between the Congress and the JMM to save the then Narasimha Rao government during the July 1993 no-confidence motion and an act of sodomy was the motive behind the murder. The charge-sheet asserted that: “Jha was aware of the illegal transactions and also expected and demanded a substantial share out of this amount from Soren.”
Soren has resigned from his post of Union Minister for Coal after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanded that he do so in the wake of the verdict. This is the first case of a Union Minister of the Government of India being found guilty of involvement in a murder. On 5 December 2006, Shibu Soren was sentenced to life imprisonment. A Delhi court rejected his bail plea, stating: ‘We cannot overlook the fact that the appellant (Soren) has been convicted after a detailed and elaborate trial only in November 2006 and sentenced in December 2006.
The bench also noted that he was also being tried in a number of other cases, including the case of mass murder in Jharkhand.
On June 25, 2007, Shibu Soren was being escorted to his jail in Dumka, Jharkhand when his convoy was attacked by bombs, but no one was hurt.
Subsequently however, the court pulled up the prosecuting attorney, R M Tiwari of the (Central Bureau of Investigation), for “not doing its homework” and presenting weak evidence.
The Delhi High Court on 23 Aug 2007 overruled the District Court and acquitted Soren. stating that “the prosecution has miserably failed in bringing home the charge against the accused persons. The trial court’s analysis is far from convincing and not sustainable.”
The five men convicted by the Tis Hazari court were held guilty of criminal conspiracy, abduction and murder primarily on the basis of forensic evidence provided by a post-mortem report of a body discovered in Jharkhand, namely a skull superimposition test and skull injury report. This was in addition to eyewitness accounts and some circumstantial evidence. But the DNA that had been extracted from the skeleton did not match Jha’s immediate family: in its judgement overruling the district court, the High Court bench wondered how the trial judge could have “ignored the well-established fact that a DNA test is considered conclusive evidence while skull superimposition tests only allude to a probability”, concluding that the skeleton was not Jha and that the case reduced to merely circumstantial evidence.