Supreme Court asks CM Hemant Soren to approach High Court with plea against ED summons

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Soren had told court that issuance of summons was actuated by malice in fact as false allegation has been hoisted against the Petitioner with the sole motive to create political uncertainty and unrest in the State

The Supreme Court today asked Jharkhand Chief Minister Heman Soren to approach the High Court with his petition seeking to quash the two summons issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate last month under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi asked Soren today as to why he had not approached the High Court.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Soren then told the court that he wished to withdraw the plea and approach the High Court for reliefs.

Soren challenged the summons being ex facie illegal, null and void, and being violative of the object and provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and impinging upon the Fundamental Rights guaranteed to him under Articles 14,19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

He added that the case against him was a clear case of abuse of law by the Central Government and misuse of the Central agencies to destabilize the democratically elected Government of the State of Jharkhand of which he is the Chief Minister. 

"With the General Election approaching soon in next 7-8 months, the political atmosphere in country has been vitiated by the ruling regime and all efforts have been made to threaten, humiliate and intimidate the political leaders, and particularly, when the opposition has united to form INDIA alliance in which Petitioner and his party are vocal participant and integral part of alliance and who are not aligned with the NDA...", the plea added.

Soren further contended that issuance of impugned summon was nothing but making roving and fishy enquiry. It is not clear as to what capacity has the Petitioner been summoned in and what is the purpose of enquiry.

It is to be noted that last week, Supreme Court had granted bail to an alleged henchman of a mining mafia and close aide of Jharkhand Chief Minister Soren, Bachchu Yadav in a money laundering case, rejecting Enforcement Directorate's allegation of him having received Rs 30 lakh as proceeds of crime.

A bench of Justices A S Bopanna and Prashant Kumar Mishra granted relief to Bachhu Yadav, close associate of Pankaj Mishra, also noting that he has been in incarceration for over one year after being arrested on August 5, 2022 and trial in the case has already begun and five witnesses had been examined.

Case Title: Hemant Soren vs. Union of India