ED challenges HC bail for Hemant Soren in top court

Wednesday 10th July 2024 07:57 EDT

Enforcement Directorate moved Supreme Court challenging Jharkhand High Court’s decision to grant bail to Hemant Soren, which paved the way for his return as chief minister, on the ground that the HC failed to consider direct evidence against him relating to land grab and money laundering.
The HC had granted bail to Soren on June 28 saying prima facie there appeared to be no direct evidence to link him to the land scam and that there was no likelihood of him committing similar offences in future.
In its special leave petition, ED said the HC erred by glossing over evidence that linked Soren to illegally acquiring 12 plots measuring over 8.5 acres and drew the apex court’s attention to the alleged recovery of Rs 36,00,000 from his residence in Shanti Niketan, New Delhi, during a raid.
Soren was arrested on Jan 31 by ED hours after he resigned as CM. His party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's senior leader Champai Soren succeeded him as CM, only to resign on grant of bail to Soren to pave the way for the latter to become CM again.
On May 22, SC had refused to entertain Soren’s plea challenging the validity of his arrest by ED in the land scam case. He had argued that land grab was not a predicate office under Prevention of Money Laundering Act and that the land alleged to have been forcibly taken by him was never in his name.

Soren wins trust

Meanwhile, Soren sailed through the first trust vote of his third term in the assembly with 45 votes out of 74, including those of the two renegade JMM legislators facing disciplinary action for having contested the Lok Sabha polls as Independents. BJP-led opposition staged a walkout during the vote, saying Hemant’s return was the start of another phase of dynastic governance.
“You have seen how opposition behaved during trust vote. I thank the speaker for conducting the vote smoothly,” said the CM. For the first time in close to a decade, the new govt will have 12 cabinet ministers as Hemant inducted 3 new faces while benching his brother & Dumka MLA Basant Soren. Fresh inclusions are JMM’s Baidnath Ram (Latehar) and Congress MLAs Deepika Pandey Singh (Mahagama) & Irfan Ansari (Jamtara).
Champai Soren, who resigned on July 3 to make way for Hemant, was made minister for water resources and higher education department.

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