The Supreme Court declined to intervene in the arrest of former Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in relation to a land scam money laundering investigation. Justices Sanjiv Khanna, MM Sundresh, and Bela M Trivedi suggested that Soren’s lawyer approach the Jharkhand High Court first, emphasizing that courts are open to everyone.
The court made it clear that it would not entertain the plea and instructed Soren to go to the High Court initially.
Soren had initially filed a plea before the High Court but withdrew it to move the Supreme Court. The court ordered, “We are not inclined to entertain the present petition under Article 32. We leave it open to approach the jurisdictional High Court under Article 226.”
The ED has accused Soren of involvement in an illegal change of ownership of land in Jharkhand. The agency recorded Soren’s statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on January 20.
Several individuals, including a 2011-batch IAS officer, have been arrested in connection with the case. Soren, who denies the money laundering allegations, released a video claiming that he was being arrested based on “fake papers” as part of a conspiracy. He resigned from his Chief Minister post on January 31 following the ED arrest.
In his plea, Soren challenged all summonses, stating they lack particulars of the probe, and sought protection from coercive measures by central agencies. Arrested on Wednesday, he was produced before the court on Thursday and placed in judicial custody for a day.