The Supreme Court on May 13 dismissed a plea requesting the release of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on interim bail for elections.  

The apex court is closing for the summer holidays from Friday, May 17, 2024. Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Soren, whether his client was ever in actual possession of 8.8 acres at Bariatu, Ranchi alleged by the Enforcement Department (ED) to be proceeds of crime.

Sibal said the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader was never in possession and even the predicate offence alleged “forcible possession” is not a scheduled offence under PMLA.

The top court said the case would be posted in the week commencing on May 20. Sibal however urged for an earlier date, saying that the elections would be over by then. 

“The SC had earlier sent him to the Jharkhand High Court. But the court delayed pronouncement of judgment in Soren’s plea for quashing arrest,” said Sibal. 

The court finally agreed to list the case on May 17. The court agreed to list the matter on May 17 but expressed doubts about being able to hear it as the case list is choc-a-bloc. 

On May 10, the top court had disposed of Soren's plea seeking a direction to the high court to deliver its verdict on his petition challenging his arrest by the ED in a money laundering case.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta observed that the petition has become infructuous as the high court has delivered its judgement on May 3 and Soren has already challenged the same in the apex court. 

Soren had also sought interim bail for campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections till the high court delivers its verdict on his plea against arrest.

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