PILs for ED probe against Hemant Soren not maintainable: SC
The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday set aside the Jharkhand High Court's order that upheld public interest litigation (PIL) for an investigation against Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren in the office-of-profit case. On the other hand, Soren has asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to furnish a copy of Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais's letter to it seeking an opinion in the case.
Why does this story matter?
- Following a plea in August, the Election Commission had written to Bais recommending Soren's disqualification from the state Assembly over holding an office of profit.
- He was accused of extending a mining lease of a stone quarry to himself while holding a public office in violation of the electoral law.
- The matter was raised by former CM Raghubar Das in February this year.
Soren hailed the SC order with the slogan 'Satyamev Jayate'
ECI had declined to make its letter to governor public
In the letter to the ECI, Soren said that despite over two months passing, the governor had not revealed his decision. It accused the central election body of "wrongfully" declining a copy of its letter carrying the recommendation of Soren's disqualification. The letter further mentions that Soren didn't receive any official notice in this regard and was apprised of the development through media reports.
Vendetta to destabilize tribal government: Soren
Earlier, Soren had termed the PIL seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) against him as a vendetta to destabilize his government that was elected democratically. The ED had summoned him for questioning in the case last week on Thursday. However, Soren skipped the summon calling it the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) harassment tactic.
ED should have got prior appointment: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha spokesperson
#WATCH | I've been summoned by ED today when I already have a program in Chhattisgarh today. If I've committed a crime that big, come arrest me. Why the questioning?... Security near ED office has increased. Why, are you scared of Jharkhandis?, says Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren pic.twitter.com/41cR92FCHM— ANI (@ANI) November 3, 2022
Why did the ED summon Soren?
The ED arrested Soren's aide, Pankaj Mishra, claiming that he enjoys political clout and controls the illegal mining trade and inland ferry services in the state. Following a money laundering case, several FIRs for illegal mining, extortion, explosive substances, and illegal arms have been registered against him. The ED sealed five stone-crushing units and froze bank accounts containing Rs. 13.32 crore related to Mishra.