The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned to September 18 Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s plea against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons to him in a money laundering case.
Soren’s advocate urged a bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi to adjourn the matter for Monday.
Hemant Soren has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging summons issued to him and said that the case a clear “abuse of law” by the Central Government and “misuse of the central agencies” to destabilize the democratically elected government led by him.
ED had asked Soren to join its investigation in the alleged money laundering case on August 24. .
Soren was earlier summoned by the ED in mid-August in connection with an alleged land scam case. However, Soren did not join the central agency probe stating that he was busy with the preparation for the Independence Day celebration in the state. He was again asked to appear on August 24 and September 9 but he did not appear before the probe agency.
In his plea, Soren urged the top court to declare Section 50 and Section 63 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 as ultra vires to the Constitution of India and to issue appropriate direction to declare the summons against him as illegal and null and void.
“As sentinel on the que vive, this Court has the Constitutional mandate to quash any act of the Union Government which is vitiated by malice and designed to interfere with the franchise exercised by the people of Jharkhand. With the general election approaching soon in next 7-8 months, the political atmosphere in country has been vitiated by the ruling regime and all efforts have been made to threaten, humiliate and intimidate the political leaders, and particularly, when the opposition has united to form INDIA alliance in which petitioner and his party are vocal participant and integral part of alliance and who are not aligned with the NDA,” the petition read.
It said that issuance of summons is actuated by malice and that “false allegation” has been levelled against the petitioner “with the sole motive to create political uncertainty and unrest in the state”.
The petition said ED earlier also sought to link the petitioner with the alleged illegal mining of stone chips in Jharkhand and summons were issued.
Soren told the court that he has provided details of all movable and immovable properties owned by him and his family along with certified copies of the title deed.
The Chief Minister had asked the probe agency to withdraw the summon against him or he will take legal action. In his letter written earlier, Soren said that he has provided all necessary documents and information.
He alleged that ED has summoned him on August 14, on the instructions of its political masters.
“Your choice of the date of 14th August does not come as a surprise to the undersigned (Hemant Soren). You and your political masters are fully aware that being the Chief Minister of the state of Jharkhand, the undersigned is scheduled to hoist the national flag on the occasion of the 77th independence day of the Republic of India on August 15, 2023,” Chief Minister Hemant Soren wrote in his letter. (ANI)