SC seeks ED reply to Soren’s plea against arrest in land scam | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought Enforcement Directorate‘s response within a week on a petition by former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren challenging his arrest in an alleged land grab related money laundering case but declined immediate interim bail despite him claiming parity with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to campaign.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, who had granted interim bail on May 10 to Kejriwal in a money laundering case related to Delhi excise scam, steered clear of senior advocate Kapil Sibal’s ‘parity’ argument by saying that it would need ED’s response to decide the case.”We are giving them the shortest possible time to respond, and we will hear the case on May 20,” it said.
Sibal said polls would be over in Jharkhand by the time SC decides Soren’s petition. When the bench expressed difficulty in accommodating Soren’s petition prior to May 17, the last day of working prior to summer break when vacation benches would only hear urgent matters, Sibal said, “Polls will be over by that time. The way I am being treated… Kejriwal’s order fully covers Soren’s case. Either the court dismisses the petition now or I will withdraw it.”
The bench took note of the senior advocate’s angst and agreed to post it for a hearing on May 17. The Lok Sabha poll in Jharkhand is being held in four phases. The first phase covering Singhbhum, Khunti and Lohardaga and Palamu seats voted on May 13, while polling in Chatra, Koderma and Hazaribagh will be on May 20. Voting in Giridih, Dhanbad, Ranchi and Jamshedpur will be held on May 25, and Rajmahal, Dumka and Godda will vote on June 1.
The bench asked Sibal whether the land grabbing charge is true and whether the alleged land is in the name of Soren. Sibal vehemently denied and said the land is not in Soren’s name and that the ED took statement from one person and booked the ex-CM without verifying the records. “Soren is not in possession of the land. He has nothing to do with the alleged land. Moreover, forcible possession of land is not a scheduled offence to enable ED to take cognisance of it,” he said.
Sibal said Soren is sure that he would be out of jail after the elections as there is not even an iota of evidence of any wrongdoing on his part, but the difficulty is that the elections would be over by then. “If the elections, which come once in five years, get over, the purpose of my seeking interim bail will get defeated,” he argued.
Sibal also complained that the SC had sent Soren to the Jharkhand high court, which delayed the verdict on his petition challenging the arrest by ED for nearly two months, resulting in the JMM leader losing precious time in political activities ahead of elections.

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