The Supreme Court, today, issued a notice in the petition filed by the former Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren challenging his arrest by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) and will hear the matter on May 17, 2024.

A Special Leave Petition was filed by JMM Leader Soren challenging the order passed on May 3, 2024, by the Jharkhand High Court dismissing his application which challenged the arrest by the ED in a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam.

The Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta observed "Issue notice returnable in the week commencing May 17th, 2024."

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appeared for Soren and submitted that Soren is not in possession of the land and he has never accepted it. He also submitted that Rajkumar Chauhan has executed a lease deal in 2015, and said, "Electricity is in his name."

Justice Khanna, "We can't put it this week, either this be put it in July."

Sibal strongly requested for a shorter date and interim bail, and said, "Now the election is over...great injustice is done to him...Kejriwal's order covers me."

Justice Khanna, "We are giving you seven days...we have to give them sufficient time...Mr. Sibal let's be clear...99% they will file some is not possible at is not difficult to run through so quickly."

Kapil Sibal explained the chronology of events and said, "6th May we have served the copy of the petition...they are purposely not appearing...we will withdraw it then..."

Justice Khanna, "What are you saying? We won't be able to pronounce order if we list on....elections are on 28th...let it come up on 20th".

Former Chief Minister Hemant Soren had moved the Supreme Court on May 6, 2024, against the Jharkhand High Court order dismissing his application challenging his arrest by the ED in a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal had mentioned the matter before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud seeking urgent listing of his plea. Sibal said polling in Jharkhand for the Lok Sabha elections will commence on May 13 and Soren should be allowed to campaign for his party JMM.

Hemant Soren had also moved the Supreme Court, saying the High Court is not pronouncing the verdict on his plea challenging arrest by the Enforcement Directorate(ED) in a money laundering case. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal had said that the High Court had reserved its verdict on February 28 on his plea but still no decision has been delivered. Sibal said they had approached the Apex Court against his arrest on February 2 but the bench had asked them to move the High Court for relief. On May 10, 2024, the Supreme Court had dismissed the petition for directions to the Jharkhand High Court to pronounce a verdict in the plea filed by the former Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren, as verdict in the said case has been pronounced on May 3.

Soren was arrested on January 31 after he resigned as the Jharkhand chief minister, and party loyalist and state transport minister Champai Soren was named as his successor. He is at present lodged in judicial custody at the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi and was sent to jail on February 15 after his 13-day ED custody ended.

The allegations of money laundering against the JMM leader pertain to the alleged illegal possession of certain immovable assets apart from his purported links with members of the 'land mafia'. The investigation is linked to a "huge racket of illegal change of ownership of land by the mafia" in Jharkhand, according to the central probe agency.

In February 2024 the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a plea by Soren challenging his arrest by the ED.

In December 2023 the Jharkhand High Court had also dismissed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) of an Advocate who alleged corruption by Soren. The Court had observed that the petition should be filed and entertained only when authorities do not take any action.

Cause Title: Hemant Soren v. Directorate of Enforcement and Anr. (SLP(Crl.) No. 6611/2024)