Updated June 10th, 2024 at 23:24 IST

HC Hears Ex-Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren’s Bail Plea, ED to Respond on June 12

Supreme Court senior advocate Kapil Sibal on Monday argued for the grant of bail to former chief minister Hemant Soren

Former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren | Image:PTI
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Ranchi: Supreme Court senior advocate Kapil Sibal on Monday argued for the grant of bail to former chief minister Hemant Soren before the Jharkhand High Court, contending that the JMM leader has been falsely implicated in a criminal case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Soren, who is also the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha executive president, had filed a petition before the high court on May 27, seeking bail. The ED will respond to the matter on June 12, the next date for the hearing.

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Soren, who was arrested by the ED on January 31 in connection with a money-laundering case linked to an alleged land scam, had requested an early hearing from the high court.

Sibal argued that Soren has been wrongfully accused of usurping an 8.86-acre plot in Bargain, Ranchi, and that this act does not constitute an offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, for which Soren has been detained.

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The ED has alleged that land documents were altered and that the original landowners were forcibly evicted by Soren.

Sibal countered that the original landowners never complained or approached authorities when their land was allegedly taken. He noted that this act of forcible eviction is said to have occurred in 2009–10, but the report was only made in 2023.

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Sibal argued that even if all allegations against Soren were true, it would be a civil matter of forcible eviction, not a criminal case.

He suggested that the criminal case was motivated by an ulterior motive to keep Soren behind the bars. He further claimed that the ED tampered with evidence and created false documents to implicate Soren.

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The original landowner, Raj Kumar Pahan, has already filed for restoration of the land in his name, which is being processed.

Newly elected Gandey legislator and Soren’s spouse Kalpana was also present in the courtroom during the arguments. The case, which started at 4 pm, continued until 6 pm.

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The HC directed the ED to respond to the matter and scheduled another hearing for June 12. On May 28, the High Court had instructed the ED to file a response to Soren's bail petition.

Appearing before a bench of Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay, Sibal had earlier pleaded that the JMM leader was a victim of political conspiracy and had been implicated without evidence.

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On May 22, Soren failed to get relief from the Supreme Court, which criticised him for "suppressing material facts" in his plea against arrest in the money laundering case.

A vacation bench of justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma allowed Soren's counsel Sibal to withdraw the pleas for interim bail for Lok Sabha poll campaigning and against his arrest after the apex court indicated that it would dismiss them as the JMM leader had not approached the court with clean hands.

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The Supreme Court noted that Soren did not inform it of the April 4 order of the special PMLA court taking cognizance of the prosecution complaint and that his regular bail petition, filed on April 15, was dismissed on May 13.

 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Republic and is published from a syndicated feed.) 

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Published June 10th, 2024 at 23:24 IST