Former CM Hemant Soren withdraws plea challenging Jharkhand High Court order from Supreme Court

Former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren on Monday withdrew from the Supreme Court his plea challenging a High Court order that refused to grant him permission to attend the budget session of the Assembly.

Hemant Soren had sought permission from the Jharkhand High Court to attend the budget session that began on February 23 and came to an end on March 2. Earlier on February 28, the Jharkhand High Court had dismissed his plea.

When the plea came up for hearing before a bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice K V Viswanathan, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for former CM Soren, said that he be allowed to withdraw the plea as the budget session came to an end on March 2. 

The Senior Advocate urged that the question of law raised in the plea may be kept open. The Supreme Court allowed him to withdraw the plea, and observed that the question of law is left open.

Hemant Soren was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 31 in connection with a money laundering case and is presently under judicial custody. On February 22, a special court in Ranchi denied him permission to participate in the Assembly session. Previously, the high court had allowed Soren, the ruling JMM’s executive president, to participate in the trust vote in the Assembly on February 5.

The allegations against the former Chief Minister and JMM leader pertain to the alleged illegal possession of certain immovable assets and his purported links with members of the land mafia. The probe is linked to a huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia in Jharkhand, according to the investigation agency.

So far, the ED has arrested several people in the case, including 2011-batch IAS officer Chhavi Ranjan, who served as the director of the state’s Social Welfare Department and deputy commissioner of Ranchi.

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