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SC refuses to entertain Jharkhand CM Soren’s plea against ED summons in money laundering case
New Delhi: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court in a money laundering case as the apex court on Monday asked him to move to the concerned High Court with his plea against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons in a money laundering case.
A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi refused to entertain the plea filed by Soren.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Jharkhand Chief Minister sought to withdraw the plea.
Soren had filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the summons issued against him and said that the case against him is a clear case of abuse of law by the Central Government and misuse of the Central agencies and to destabilize the democratically elected Government of the State of Jharkhand of which he is the Chief Minister.
ED had asked Soren to join its investigation in the alleged money laundering case on August 24, but the Jharkhand chief minister did not appear before the central agency on that day.
In his plea, Soren has 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. He also sought to quash summons against him and all steps taken and proceedings emanating therefrom.
"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 seven to eight 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.
Soren submitted that the issuance of summons is actuated by malice in fact as false allegation has been hoisted against the petitioner with the sole motive to create political uncertainty and unrest in the State.
The respondent ED earlier also sought to link the petitioner with the alleged illegal mining of stone chips in Jharkhand and accordingly summons were issued, he further added.
He also told the court that he has duly provided details of all movable and immovable properties owned by him and his family along with certified copies of the title deed thereof.
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.
Earlier the Chief Minister had confronted the federal agency asking it to withdraw the summons against him or else he will take legal action. In his letter, Soren had said that he has provided all necessary documents and information.
He wrote, if the ED needs any information, it can refer to the documents, he mentioned in his letter. He has also alleged that the 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 15th August 2023," Soren had written.