28 Jun 2024

Ex-Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren granted bail by High Court, See Details


Ex-Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has been granted bail by the High Court. Soren’s lawyer, Arunabh Chowdhury, stated to the media, “Bail is granted. The court held, prima facie, Hemant Soren is not guilty, and there is no likelihood of the petitioner committing an offence on bail.” With no other cases currently against him, Soren’s release is expected soon. Bail was granted upon the payment of two sureties of ₹ 50,000 each.

Soren, a leader of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 31 on charges of money laundering. The ED has accused him of orchestrating a scheme involving fictitious transactions and forged documents to acquire 8.86 acres of land in Ranchi worth crores. Soren has consistently denied these charges, alleging that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) framed his arrest to disrupt the opposition, especially since it occurred just weeks before the Lok Sabha election.

The bail order represents a significant development following a series of legal setbacks for Soren in the previous month. Initially, the Ranchi special court denied him bail. This was followed by the High Court rejecting a plea to quash his arrest, citing an “abundance of documents that lay the foundation for the arrest and remand of petitioner.” The court also remarked that Soren could not "wiggle out of the mess he created for himself."

Soren then sought interim bail from the Supreme Court, arguing that he needed to campaign for his party and the Congress-led INDIA opposition bloc in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. However, the Supreme Court also refused this request. The ED opposed his “special prayer” for interim bail, arguing that Soren had attempted to subvert the investigation by "misusing state machinery."

In contrast, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was also arrested by the ED in an alleged liquor policy scam, was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court to campaign for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Soren’s inability to secure similar interim bail meant he could not participate in the campaign.

Additionally, Soren had to withdraw another Supreme Court plea challenging his arrest after facing tough questions about non-disclosure of facts. 

Hemant Soren resigned as Chief Minister on January 31, hours after the ED began questioning him and informed him of his imminent arrest. He refused to accept the arrest memo until he had formally resigned to avoid being the first sitting Chief Minister to be arrested.

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