Former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren can’t campaign in Lok Sabha election as Supreme Court refuses to entertain his plea against arrest in PMLA case : The Tribune India

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Former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren can’t campaign in Lok Sabha election as Supreme Court refuses to entertain his plea against arrest in PMLA case

Soren withdraws his petition after a Bench led by Justice Dipankar Datta pulls him up for 'suppressing facts'

Former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren can’t campaign in Lok Sabha election as Supreme Court refuses to entertain his plea against arrest in PMLA case

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren. PTI file



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, May 22

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren will miss the 2024 Lok Sabha poll campaign as the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain his plea against arrest in a money-laundering case linked to a land scam for “suppressing facts” regarding filing of a regular bail plea in the trial court.

“Your conduct tells a lot. We expected your client to come up with candour but you suppressed material facts… Your conduct is not without blemish,” a Vacation Bench of Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma told senior counsel Kapil Sibal who represented Soren.

As Sibal said the JMM leader was in custody and didn’t have any knowledge about the petitions being filed in courts, the Bench said, “He is not a layman.”

Sibal chose to withdraw Soren’s petition challenging arrest by the Enforcement Directorate after the top court said it will dismiss his petition against the arrest without going into merits of the case.

The Bench cautioned him that if it went into details of the case it would be “damaging” for the JMM leader.

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).

Arrested on January 31 in the case by the ED, Soren is currently lodged in judicial custody in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail. He had challenged the May 3 order of the Jharkhand High Court dismissing his petition against the arrest.

Seeking parity with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal – who was released on 21-day interim bail by the top court on May 10 – Soren had also sought interim bail for campaigning in the Lok Sabha election till the court delivered its verdict on his plea against arrest by the ED.

On Tuesday, the top court had asked Soren to explain if it could examine the validity of his arrest after the trial court took cognisance of the ED complaint (charge sheet) against him in a money-laundering case.

On behalf of the ED, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju had opposed Soren’s interim bail plea, saying his case was different from that of Kejriwal, who was released on interim bail for campaigning in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

Raju pointed out that the trial court had on April 4 taken cognisance of the ED’s complaint upon finding that a prima facie case was made out against Soren. He submitted that Soren’s arrest had been upheld by the Jharkhand High Court and his regular bail application was dismissed by the trial court on May 13.

The ED 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.

The probe against Soren pertains to an 8.86-acre plot of land in Ranchi that the ED accused him of illegally acquiring.

However, Sibal asserted before the top court that no offence of illegal possession of land was made out against Soren under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

 

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#Hemant Soren #Jharkhand #Lok Sabha #Supreme Court


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