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Supreme Court rejects Hemant Soren's interim bail plea, raps him for 'not disclosing facts'

Hemant Soren had sought interim bail in the money laundering case linked to the alleged land scam. The Supreme Court rejected his petition in a massive blow to the Opposition leader.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 New Delhi Updated on: May 22, 2024 13:06 IST
Former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren
Image Source : PTI Former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren

The Supreme Court on Wednesday (May 22) rejected former Jharkhand chief minister's interim bail petition noting that the petitioner has "not disclosed the fact" that the trial court has taken cognisance of the chargesheet in the matter. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Hemant Soren, said he withdraws the petition seeking interim bail. Soren was arrested by the ED in a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam in Jharkhand.

What did the Supreme Court say to Hemant Soren?

A vacation bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma allowed Sibal to withdraw his plea after issuing a warning that if the court goes into the details of the case, it will be "damaging" for Soren.

The Supreme Court rapped Soren on the matter and said, "Will dismiss his plea against arrest without going into merits. It will be damaging if court goes into details. Your conduct tells a lot. We expected your client to come up with candour but you suppressed material facts".

The bench told Sibal, "Your conduct is not without blemish", after he tried to defend Soren saying he is in custody and does not have any knowledge about the petitions being filed in courts.

“He is not a layman,” the bench observed and said it will dismiss his plea against arrest without going into the merit of the case. Sibal then agreed to withdraw the plea.

The ED had earlier told the apex court that Soren's arrest on January 31 has been upheld by the Jharkhand High Court and his regular bail application was dismissed by the trial court on May 13. The ED had alleged that "huge amounts of proceeds of crime" were generated by Soren through manipulation of official records by showing dummy sellers and purchasers in the guise of forged/bogus documents to acquire huge parcels of land having value in crores of rupees.

Supreme Court in previous hearing

The Supreme Court had on May 13 refused to grant interim bail to Soren in the money laundering case. The JMM leader had sought bail for Lok Sabha elections campaigning and cited the recent release of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from jail as an example. The apex court also sought the Enforcement Directorate's response by May 17 on the plea challenging his arrest.

A bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta, which was initially listing the matter on May 20, had to change the date to May 17 after senior advocate Kapil Sibal said polls would be over by then and he would be prejudiced if the long date is given in the matter.

The probe against Soren pertains to an 8.86-acre plot of land in Ranchi that the ED has alleged was illegally acquired by him. The money laundering investigation stems from multiple FIRs registered by Jharkhand Police in land "scam" cases against several people, including state government officials.

The ED is probing the alleged "huge amounts of proceeds of crime generated by manipulation of official records by showing dummy sellers and purchasers in the guise of forged/bogus documents to acquire huge parcels of land having value in crores".

(With PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | Kejriwal praises Hemant Soren's wife Kalpana, says she is challenging PM Modi like 'Jhansi ki Rani'

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