Supreme Court has turned down Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s petition against the ED and asked him to approach the High Court.
While hearing his writ application seeking its order to regulate the ED's powers and lay down the norms for its operations so it is not "brazenly be misused to target persons who are not favourably positioned with the ruling regime", the apex court directed him to approach the appropriate court for his plea.
Notably, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren last night had filed an intervening application in the apex court against the fresh summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against him.
The ED had issued a fresh summon asking him to appear for questioning on September 23 in a money laundering case pertaining to land grabbing in the state.
Notably, the ED is investigating more than a dozen land deals, including one related to defence land, wherein a group of land mafia, middlemen, and bureaucrats allegedly connived to forge deeds and documents that go back as far as 1932.
Many of them including IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan were in jail. Their bail petitions were denied by the court. From available information, the ED wants to question Soren in a land scam case, in which he and his family members allegedly violated the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader's legal team accused the central government of "using the ED" and said the "pace of the attacks picked up the pace with the date of General Elections fast approaching and the formation of the opposition alliance INDIA against the ruling National Democratic Alliance".
The timing of the impugned summons is parallel to the INDIA bloc meeting in Mumbai on September 1, it added. Soren was asked to appear before the central agency on September 9 but he left for Delhi. Earlier the Supreme Court scheduled the hearing of the application on Monday, September 18.
Now, with the SC declining to hear his plea, CM Soren has the option to move the Jharkhand High Court. What the ED will do remains to be seen.