Interim bail eludes JMM leader Hemant Soren as Supreme Court defers hearing to Tuesday : The Tribune India

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Interim bail eludes JMM leader Hemant Soren as Supreme Court defers hearing to Tuesday

A Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta asks the ED to respond to Soren’s petition against his arrest by May 20

Interim bail eludes JMM leader Hemant Soren as Supreme Court defers hearing to Tuesday

The ED has alleged that “huge amounts of proceeds of crime” were generated by Soren through manipulation of official records by showing dummy sellers and purchasers in the guise of forged/bogus documents to acquire huge parcels of land having value in crores of rupees. File Photo



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, May 17

There was no immediate relief to former Jharkhand Chief Minister and JMM leader Hemant Soren in a money laundering case linked to a land scam as the Supreme Court on Friday deferred to May 21 the hearing on his plea for interim bail to enable him to campaign in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

A Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta – which had on May 13 issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Soren’s petition challenging his arrest in the case – asked the probe agency to file its response to Soren’s plea for interim bail as also his challenge to arrest by Monday and posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday.

Arrested on January 31 in the case by the ED, Soren has challenged the May 3 order of the Jharkhand High Court dismissing his petition against the arrest. He has also sought interim bail for campaigning in the Lok Sabha election till the court delivers its verdict on his plea against the arrest.

On behalf of Soren, senior counsel Kapil Sibal insisted that the matter needed to be heard expeditiously as one of the four phases of the Lok Sabha polls was already over and the second phase was scheduled to be held on May 20.

However, the Bench posted the matter to May 21 after Additional Solicitor General SV Raju submitted on behalf of the ED that he wasn’t prepared and that the probe agency needed time to file its reply.

Polling for 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand is scheduled to be held in four phases—May 13 (4 seats), May 20 (3 seats), May 25 (4 seats) and June 1 (three seats).

Denying the allegations levelled by the ED, Sibal said Soren had nothing to do with the land in question and that he was ready to answer all the allegations against the former Jharkhand Chief Minister.

On May 13, Sibal had said the whole exercise would become infructuous if there was delay in deciding the petition as the Lok Sabha elections would be over.

Sibal had sought to emphasise that Soren’s prayer for release was covered by the top court’s May 10 order granting a three-week interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to campaign in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

Just before his arrest on January 31, he had resigned as Jharkhand chief minister, and party loyalist and state transport minister Champai Soren was named as his successor.

Soren is lodged in judicial custody at the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi. The ED has alleged that “huge amounts of proceeds of crime” were generated by Soren through manipulation of official records by showing dummy sellers and purchasers in the guise of forged/bogus documents to acquire huge parcels of land having value in crores of rupees.

On May 10, the Bench had disposed of his petition seeking a direction to the high court to deliver its verdict on his petition challenging his arrest by the ED in a money laundering case as it had become infructuous in view of the fact that the high court delivered its judgement on May 3 and the JMM leader had already challenged it in the top court. Soren contended that the high court erred in dismissing his plea against the arrest.

 

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