Supreme Court refuses to entertain Hemant Soren's interim bail plea against ED arrest, pulls up ex-Jharkhand CM | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Supreme Court refuses to entertain Hemant Soren's interim bail plea against ED arrest, pulls up ex-Jharkhand CM

May 22, 2024 04:28 PM IST

The court pulled up Hemant Soren for suppressing from it the fact that he filed a ail plea before a trial court.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 22, refused to entertain former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren's petition challenging the Enforcement Directorate's arrest in a money laundering case related to an alleged land scam in the state and seeking interim bail for campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (ANI)
Former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (ANI)

A vacation bench comprising Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma also pulled up Hemant Soren for suppressing from it the fact that he filed a bail plea before a trial court, saying his conduct isn't free from blemish.

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Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Hemant Soren, withdrew the application after the court warned it would otherwise dismiss the plea. The development means the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader won't be able to campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

“Your conduct tells a lot. We expected your client to come up with candour but you suppressed material facts,” the court told Hemant Soren's lawyer.

On Tuesday, Hemant Soren faced scrutiny from the Supreme Court, which asked how he could contest the validity of his arrest by the ED after a Jharkhand trial court has already acknowledged the existence of prima facie evidence of money laundering against him.

The court underscored the distinctions that set Hemant Soren’s case apart from that of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was previously granted interim bail in a money laundering case so that he could campaign in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

When Arvind Kejriwal was granted interim bail on May 10, he had not sought regular bail from a trial court, nor had there been any judicial order of cognisance against him in the Delhi excise policy case, pointed out a vacation bench. In contrast, a Jharkhand trial court has taken cognisance of the offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), relying on prima facie incriminating materials against Hemant Soren, and his bail plea was rejected, it observed.

As it heard Hemant Soren’s plea challenging his arrest by ED in January and seeking interim bail due to the general elections, the top court’s bench posed probing questions to Soren’s legal team, led by senior counsel Kapil Sibal, regarding the validity of his challenge against the ED arrest in connection with an alleged land scam despite a judicial order taking cognisance of offences under PMLA.

The bench highlighted that the April 4 order of a Jharkhand court taking cognisance is based on its prima facie satisfaction on the existence of incriminating material linked to Soren. “Once the cognisance has been taken, one judicial forum has applied its mind and reached a conclusion that prima facie there are materials justifying your arrest. In such a scenario, will another court look into the same materials? There is a judicial decision, and you need to satisfy us that after such an order, this court can still look into materials,” the bench told Sibal.

 

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