Jharkhand HC seeks ED's reply in bail plea filed by Ex-CM Hemant Soren

Soren, who was arrested in connection with a money-laundering case, requests the high court for an early hearing of the matter

Hemant Soren at his ancestral village Nemara in Ramgarh district on 5 May (photo: PTI)
Hemant Soren at his ancestral village Nemara in Ramgarh district on 5 May (photo: PTI)


The Jharkhand High Court on Tuesday, 28 May, directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file a reply on the bail application moved by former chief minister Hemant Soren.

Soren, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on 31 January in connection with a money-laundering case linked to an alleged land scam, filed the petition before the high court on Monday and requested an early hearing of the matter.

Appearing on behalf of Soren before a bench of Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay, senior advocate Kapil Sibal pleaded that the JMM leader was a victim of political conspiracy.

The court directed the ED to file a response in the matter and set 10 June as the next date of the hearing.

In his petition, Soren pleaded before the court that his name does not figure in any of the documents about 8.5 acres of land in the Bargain circle and no offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act is made out against him.

He also claimed that the ED was relying only on statements of some people who had said that the land parcel belonged to him, but there was "no document to back such statements".

Soren had resigned as the chief minister before his arrest on 31 January and is now lodged in the Birsa Munda Jail at Hotwar in state capital Ranchi.

He was accused of being instrumental in tampering with land documents for a plot in Bargain in Ranchi.

Soren pleaded that the owner of the land was one Raj Kumar Pahan who had complained to the office of the Bargain Circle officer that his land was being encroached on by some persons.

Pahan had nowhere mentioned the name of Hemant Soren, yet the ED had brought about a case that the land was in the possession of Soren, the petition added.

Soren had on 22 May failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court which pulled him up for "suppressing material facts" in the plea against his arrest in the money laundering case linked to the alleged land scam.

A vacation bench of justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma allowed Soren's counsel Kapil 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 Soren had not approached the court with clean hands.

The court pointed out that Soren did not apprise it of the 4 April order of the special PMLA court taking cognisance of the prosecution complaint, and also that his regular bail petition was filed on 15 April and dismissed on 13 May.

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