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ED Appeals to Supreme Court Against Hemant Soren’s Bail in Money Laundering Case

ED Challenges High Court’s Bail Grant to Hemant Soren in Supreme Court

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has approached the Supreme Court to challenge the Jharkhand High Court’s decision to grant bail to Chief Minister Hemant Soren in a money laundering case. The case involves allegations of Soren’s illegal acquisition of 8.5 acres of land in the Baragain Circle, Ranchi, and laundering the proceeds of the crime.

The High Court granted Soren bail on June 28, concluding that there was “reason to believe” he was not guilty of the alleged money laundering offence linked to the land scam. The single-judge bench of Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay noted that the ED’s claim of preventing Soren and others from illegally acquiring land seemed vague, as witnesses alleged the land had already been acquired by Soren.

“The claim of the Enforcement Directorate that its timely action had prevented the illegal acquisition of the land by forging and manipulating the records seems to be an ambiguous statement when considered in the backdrop of the allegation that the land was already acquired and possessed by the petitioner as per some of the statements recorded u/s 50 PMLA, 2002 and that too from the year 2010 onwards,” the Court said.

The Court also highlighted that none of the registers or revenue records bore evidence of Soren’s direct involvement in the land acquisition and possession. Additionally, no aggrieved parties had approached the police to register complaints, despite Soren not being in power in Jharkhand during the relevant period.

“There was no reason for the purported oustees from the land in question not to have approached the authorities for redressal of their grievance if at all the petitioner had acquired and possessed the said land when the petitioner was not in power,” the Court noted.

The High Court concluded that the twin conditions for the grant of bail under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) were satisfied in this case.

Following his arrest by the ED in the money laundering case related to the “illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia” in Jharkhand, Soren stepped down as Chief Minister on January 31. During his incarceration, JMM leader Champai Soren served as Chief Minister. However, after securing bail, Hemant Soren was sworn in again as Chief Minister on July 4.

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