The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren whether a court can examine the legality of his arrest after the trial court has taken cognisance of the prosecution complaint filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the money laundering case against him related to an alleged land scam. 

A bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma, which posted the matter for further hearing on Wednesday, asked Soren's counsel to first satisfy the court as to how interim bail can be granted to him for campaigning in the Lok Sabha poll when his application for regular bail has been dismissed. 

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Arunabh Chowdhury, appearing for Soren, sought time till Wednesday to respond to the court's queries. 

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the ED, opposed Soren's interim bail plea, contending his case was different from that of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was granted interim bail on May 10 for campaigning in the general elections. 

He said the trial court had on April 4 taken cognisance of the prosecution complaint, ED's equivalent of a charge sheet, upon finding that a prima facie case was made out against Soren. 

The ED has, in its affidavit, said Soren is actively attempting to "subvert" the probe in the money laundering case against him by "misusing state machinery". It has opposed his "special prayer" for interim bail to campaign in the Lok Sabha polls. 

The agency said Soren's arrest on January 31 has been upheld by the Jharkhand High Court and his regular bail application dismissed by the trial court on May 13. 

On May 13, Soren referred to the top court's order granting interim bail to Kejriwal in the money laundering case against him linked to the alleged Delhi excise scam and sought identical relief for himself. 

In his appeal filed through advocate Praghya Baghel, the JMM leader said the high court had erred in dismissing his plea. 

The ED has alleged that "huge amounts of proceeds of crime" were generated by Soren through manipulation of official records by showing dummy sellers and purchasers in the guise of forged/bogus documents to acquire huge parcels of land having value in crores of rupees.


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