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Monday, January 30, 2023

SC reverses HC order in Soren case


In a major relief to Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, the Supreme Court on Monday sets aside the order a Jharkhand High Court order in connection with the PILs filed against him alleging money laundering through shell companies and obtaining a mining lease while he was in power.

Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia pronounced the order on behalf of Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat and himself.

The Supreme court allowed the appeals moved by Jharkhand government and Soren reversing the High Court order which accepted maintainability of PIL seeking a probe against him.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal questioned the conduct of the original petitioner, Shiv Shankar Sharma.

“How the High Court looked into the merits of the matter, despite the Supreme Court order which asked it to consider the maintainability first and how the Enforcement Directorate produced materials in a sealed cover without there being any incriminating evidence against Soren?” Sibal argued.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi submitted how no credentials were shown to the satisfaction of the court. How the petitioner and his advocate suppressed the PILs that were filed by them and how there was no prima facie satisfaction of the High Court.

Opposing these submissions, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), argued that the criminal petitions should not be thrown out on technical grounds.

The Supreme Court on May 23 had directed the Jharkhand High Court to first decide the maintainability of three PILs seeking a CBI/ED investigation against Soren in relation to grant of mining lease, allegations of MNREGA scam and transfer of money into shell companies.

The apex court on August 17 stayed the proceedings before the High Court on the PILs (Public Interest Litigation) filed by Shiv Shankar Sharma against the Chief Minister.

It also reserved its verdict on the plea filed by state and the Chief Minister challenging the maintainability of the PILs before the High Court.

The PILs, were filed by Sharma, seeking probe into the alleged charges of corruption and money laundering against Soren, who allegedly granted some mining lease and thereby allegedly involved in corruption.

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