Aware that the Supreme Court is slated to hear his writ application today (Monday), Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren last night 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.
Now, when the top court is about to hear his petition, the facts are this. One, Soren had already skipped the ED's summons thrice before the fresh ones were issued on Sunday.
In the application filed on Sunday, Hemant Soren's legal counsel questioned why fresh summons were issued since the Supreme Court had already been informed of the matter.
Earlier, the Jharkhand CM had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the ED and a plea seeking “no coercive action” against him.
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).
In the intervening application, Hemant Soren's legal team has gone on record saying, "The perusal of the summons itself exposes the political motive and the agenda of the Enforcement Directorate which, by its actions, have undermined the purpose for which it was constituted as a statutory authority."
It further said the Supreme Court must regulate the ED's powers and lay down the norms for its operations so it is not "brazenly misused to target persons who are not favourably positioned with the ruling regime".
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 I.N.D.I.A. 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.