The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the bail petition of Pankaj Mishra who is the MLA representative of the state's former Chief Minister Hemant Soren. 

The top court heard Mishra’s plea for interim bail today and declined to provide him relief. The SC posted his petition for hearing in April. Prior to this, Mishra's bail plea was rejected by the Jharkhand High Court on February 10, 2024. 

Two years ago, Mishra was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in July 2022 for his alleged involvement in Rs 1000-crore illegal mining in the Santhal Parganas. Mishra, who is Soren's close aide has been in the eye of the storm for influencing mining tenders and other contracts after which ED seized his assets last year. 

During the investigation, ED raided Mishra and his accomplice's properties in Sahengunj, Rajmahal, Barharwa, and Barhet and recovered Rs. 5.34 in cash and 11.88 crore from 37 bank accounts. Mishra had filed a bail petition in the illegal mining case last year which was rejected by the Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Court in Ranchi in November 2023. 

The bail was rejected on the grounds that the charges against him were severe and that Mishra could tamper with the investigation if granted bail. ED had also filed a prosecution charge against electricity trader Prem Prakash, and local criminal Sahibganj Bacchu Yadav along with Pankaj Mishra. 

After conducting thorough searches, the central agency filed the case against Mishra in March 2023 under the PMLA saying that he "illegally seized or amassed large assets in his favor." 

According to ED's chargesheet, Pankaj Mishra was actively engaged in unlawful mining activities and siphoning off millions of rupees under the supervision of Hemant Soren, despite his close ties with the former chief minister. Pankaj Mishra had filed a complaint in PMLA court against ED's assistant director alleging that he had concealed facts of the Barharwa tender case in the complaint it filed in the court. 

As per the FIR filed by a complainant named Sambu Nandan Kumar, Mishra reportedly threatened Kumar not to participate in the bidding. When the complainant refused, he was allegedly attacked by a mob at Mishra's behest. 

According to the ED, the main objective was to obtain control over all six toll plazas managed by the Barharwa Nagar Panchayat along the route linking the mining sites.


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