In a major relief to Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, the Supreme Court on Monday set aside an earlier High Court order and held that the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed before the HC seeking an investigation into alleged money laundering in connection with the grant of mining lease against the Jharkhand Chief Minister was not maintainable.
Setting aside the HC order which allowed the probe into the alleged money laundering case as maintainable, the top court stated that it was allowing the Jharkhand government and CM Soren’s appeal challenging the HC order on the maintainability of the PILs. The order was passed by a Chief Justice of India UU Lalit-led bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia.
The case was pertaining to the HC accepting the PILs seeking a probe into Soren’s role in the alleged money laundering case by parking unaccounted cash in shell companies and securing the mining lease for himself in 2021 while he was in power.
In the pleas moved against Soren, petitioner RTI activist Shiv Kumar Sharma had sought the disqualification of Soren, who is in charge of the mining department, and request a CBI and ED probe. On May 24, the apex court had directed HC to determine the maintainability of Sharma’s PILs.
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Questioning the HC’s acceptance of ED’s sealed documents, Jharkhand government’s legal counsel Kapil Sibal argued how the ED submitted sealed documents to the HC even after there were no incriminating evidence against the Soren government, reported Live Law. Sibal further argued on how the HC started examining the merits of the case even before determining the maintainability of the pleas, as was earlier directed by the SC, reported Live Law.