The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s plea against the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) summons in a case of alleged money laundering.
A bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Bela M Trivedi granted Soren the liberty to approach the Jharkhand High Court for relief in the matter.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi claimed in the court that this is a complete case of a witch-hunt. ”Mr Rohatgi, why don’t you go to the high court? No no, go to the high court. We will permit you to withdraw,” the bench said. The matter was dismissed as withdrawn.
Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the ED, submitted that the issue is covered by a large number of judgments.
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Soren has moved the apex court challenging the summons sent to him to depose at the federal agency’s office in Ranchi on August 14 and record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Earlier, Soren had skipped the ED’s summons in an alleged defence land scam case citing pre-scheduled events.
The 48-year-old Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader was interrogated for over nine hours by the ED on November 17 last year in connection with another money-laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining in the state.
The central probe agency is investigating more than a dozen land deals, including one related to defence land, wherein a group of mafia, middlemen and bureaucrats allegedly connived to forge deeds and documents of as long back as 1932.
The ED has arrested several people so far in the state, including Soren’s political aide Pankaj Mishra.
Soren was initially summoned by the ED on November 3, 2022, but he did not appear citing official engagements. He had even dared the central probe agency to arrest him and then sought a three-week deferment of the summons.