In a setback to the Jharkhand Chief Minister, the Supreme Court refused to entertain Hemant Soren’s plea against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons in connection with a money laundering case and asked him to move High Court.
Following the top court’s direction, Soren withdrew his plea.
The SC on Friday (September 15) had adjourned the hearing in the case to September 18.? Soren had filed a petition in the top court challenging summons issued to him and alleged that the case was a clear “abuse of law” by the Centre and an attempt to destabilize his democratically elected government.
The central agency has asked him to appear on September 23.
He was earlier summoned by the ED in mid-August in connection with the land scam case. However, he skipped the probe stating that he was busy with the Independence Day celebration preparation in Jharkhand. Soren was again asked to appear on August 24 and September 9, however, he did not appear before the probe agency.
Soren’s plea in Supreme Court
In the plea filed in the Supreme Court, Soren urged the top court to declare Section 50 and Section 63 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 as ultra vires to the Constitution and to issue appropriate direction to declare the summons against him as illegal and null and void.
"As sentinel on the que vive, this Court has the Constitutional mandate to quash any act of the Union Government which is vitiated by malice and designed to interfere with the franchise exercised by the people of Jharkhand. 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 petition read.
Soren stated that he has provided details of all his properties - movable and immovable - along with certified copies of the title deed.
He alleged that summons were issued to him on August 14 on the instructions of its political masters.
"Your choice of the date of 14th August does not come as a surprise to the undersigned (Hemant Soren). You and your political masters are fully aware that being the Chief Minister of the state of Jharkhand, the undersigned is scheduled to hoist the national flag on the occasion of the 77th independence day of the Republic of India on August 15, 2023," Chief Minister Hemant Soren wrote in his letter.
(With ANI inputs)