Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s petition before the Jharkhand High Court challenging the issuance of summons to him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a case of alleged money laundering has been found to have “defects”, according to the court stamp reporting section. The HC website in its case status showed that Soren's petition, which bears the number WP(Cr) No. 787/2023, has some defects.
Soren moved the HC on September 23 after the Supreme Court refused to hear his plea against the summons by the ED.
Chances of setting right the defects in the chief minister's petition, however, appear to be bleak on Tuesday as the court will be closed on Tuesday as it will observe a full court reference to mourn the death of a sitting judge, Justice Kailash Prasad Deo on September 22.
The HC will sit at 10.30 am and hold the reference at 11 am. However, it will depend on the bench hearing the matter and its order thereof, a senior lawyer said.
Another lawyer said once a petition is filed in the high court it is sent to the stamp section to scrutinise it and point out the defects in it. The defects may range from typographical errors to deficit stamp duty.
The petitioner gets a week's window to rectify the defects. After the rectification, the petition is sent to the listing section for listing it according to the roster of the judges, he said.
An apex court bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Bela M Trivedi on September 18 directed the chief minister to approach the Jharkhand High Court for relief in the matter.
Soren filed a criminal writ petition at the HC challenging the jurisdiction and authority of the ED to issue summons to him to appear in person and urged it to stay it. He also questioned its jurisdiction for sending summons to him.
Soren, who is the executive president of the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, in his petition alleged that the ED was harassing him and that political vendetta is a reason behind its summons.
The ED had sent summons to Soren to depose at the federal agency's office here on August 14 and again on August 23 to record his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The chief minister had skipped appearance on both dates.
Soren had skipped the ED's summons on November 23, 2022 in an alleged defence land scam case citing official engagements.
The ED summoned him with regard to land scams running into crores of Rupees.
The 48-year-old chief minister was interrogated for over nine hours by the ED on November 17 last year in connection with another money-laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining in the state.
The central probe agency is investigating more than a dozen land deals, including one related to defence land, wherein a group of mafia, middlemen and bureaucrats allegedly connived to forge deeds and documents dating as long back as 1932.
The ED has arrested several people so far in the state, including Soren's political aide Pankaj Mishra in the case.
While the ruling JMM has alleged that the chief minister is being made a political victim, the BJP last week said with the kind of corruption he has committed Soren will not get any relief from any court and will have to eventually face an ED probe.
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