13 May 2024

Hemant Soren Bail: Notice issued on Soren's petition challenging arrest by ED, hearing in Supreme Court on this date

New Delhi: During the hearing on the petition challenging the arrest of former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren in a money laundering case related to a land scam, the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and has asked for its reply. The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Sanjeev Khanna has scheduled the next hearing for May 17, during which the ED is expected to submit its response.

Initially, Soren had appealed to the Jharkhand High Court against his arrest by the ED. Following the rejection of his petition there, he sought recourse from the Supreme Court. Soren's lawyer, Kapil Sibal, had requested an expedited hearing, leading the court to set the date for May 17.

Soren never had possession of the land

During the hearing, Soren's lawyer, Kapil Sibal, appeared before the bench presided over by Justice Sanjeev Khanna. Justice Khanna inquired with Sibal about the ownership of the land in question. Sibal responded by stating that the land was never in Soren's possession and reiterated that Soren had no connection to the land. Sibal requested for their statement to be officially recorded, affirming that Soren never held possession of the land. He argued that a case of money laundering cannot be established in a situation involving alleged possession of land.

Justice Khanna offered to schedule the hearing for July, considering the upcoming summer vacation starting on May 18. However, Sibal urged for an earlier hearing, citing the ongoing general elections in the country as a reason for expediency. Sibal advocated for the case to be heard on May 17. Initially hesitant, the bench eventually agreed after Sibal emphasized the ongoing election activities and the impending conclusion of the campaign period.

HC has delayed a lot in giving its decision 

The High Court made significant delays in reaching a decision in the case involving Hemant Soren. Despite the completion of the hearing in the High Court on February 28, the decision was not delivered until May 3. This delay prevented Soren from actively participating in the election campaign. When the High Court's decision was pending for two months, Soren turned to the Supreme Court. Subsequently, upon the matter reaching the Supreme Court, the High Court finally issued its decision on May 3.

Following this development, the Supreme Court scheduled a hearing for May 20. Sibal said that an advance copy had been served to the ED, accusing them of intentionally prolonging the case. However, Justice Sanjeev Khanna's Supreme Court bench eventually agreed to hear the case on May 17. But the Bench also expressed concerns about the potential workload for that day.

Hemant Soren was arrested by the ED on January 31 on charges of money laundering connected to a land scam, leading to his resignation from the position of CM of Jharkhand. Currently in judicial custody, Soren challenged his arrest in the Jharkhand High Court, which reserved its decision on February 28. Subsequently, with no decision forthcoming after two months, the matter was escalated to the Supreme Court. Despite the High Court's rejection of Hemant Soren's application on May 3, an appeal against the arrest was lodged in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has now issued a notice to the ED, with the hearing scheduled for May 17.

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