At a time when Governor C. P. Radhakrishnan is gearing up to administer the oath of office to him as Chief Minister on July 7, Hemant Soren is ready to face the Enforcement Directorate in the Supreme Court. 

Already, the ED is learnt to be in the process of moving the Supreme Court with a special leave petition (SLP) against a recent Jharkhand High Court order that granted bail to him in a money-laundering case. 

The ED is likely to challenge the June 28 order passed by a single-judge bench of Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay. The central agency can state that the Jharkhand hinge court’s order that Soren is “prima facie not guilty” is erroneous.

Further, the ED can submit before the SC that the accused ( Hemant Soren)does not satisfy the twin conditions stipulated by section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). 

The high court had said there was “reason to believe” that Soren was not guilty of the offense as alleged by the ED and there was no likelihood of the petitioner committing a similar offense. 

Section 45 of the PMLA means that bail can be given to a money-laundering accused if two conditions are met — if the court is prima facie satisfied that the accused did not commit the offense and that he is unlikely to commit any offense while on bail. The ED is reportedly prepared to move the apex court with these grounds mentioned in its SLP. 

In fact, available information indicates that the “ED’s legal team had, the day the high court granted the relief to Soren, had approached  the high court for a stay on the implementation of the bail order for 48 hours, so that it could move the Supreme Court.” 

Yet, the ED faced a slap on its face as the single bench of the Jharkhand High Court reportedly rejected its plea. 

On Wednesday, Soren not only got elected as leader of the Legislature party( JMM) and its allies( Congress, RJD, and Left parties), met Governor C.P. Radhakrishnan and staked a claim to form the government as CM, but also prevailed upon his party leader and chief minister Champai Soren to hand over his letter of resignation to the Governor.  

Aware of the ED’s move, Hemant Soren is understood to be ready to take the oath of CM’s office and wait for the SC’s verdict. Even if the top court rejects the HC’s order of bail and sends him to jail again, Hemant Soren knows he will continue to function as the CM. 

And, following the footsteps of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who, despite having been sent to jail, facing the charges of money laundering, did not resign, and continued to spend time in Tihad jail in judicial custody, Hemant Soren can govern the state and lead the I.N.D.I.A. block in the upcoming Assembly polls from behind the high walls of the Birsa Munda central jail in Ranchi.  

Now, Hemant(48) is young with a beard, showcasing himself as a ‘revolutionary’ like his father Shibu Soren. As per legal records, he was arrested by the ED on January 31 from inside the premises of the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi, minutes after he had resigned as the chief minister on moral grounds. 

The money-laundering case against Hemant Soren pertains to his “illegally” acquiring an 8.86-acre land in Ranchi with the help of state government officials and others. A chargesheet was filed by the ED against Soren and some others on March 30 before a special PMLA court in Ranchi.

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