EC commences hearing of mining lease case against Hemant Soren
The Election Commission of India (EC) on Tuesday heard submissions of the BJP on its plea to disqualify Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren as an MLA for allegedly holding an office of profit.
Soren — who was represented by his legal team — has been asked to present his defence on July 14, a senior Election Commission source said.
Tuesday was the final chance given to Soren to defend himself in an office-of-profit reference from governor Ramesh Bais against him. As the BJP lawyer’s submission continued into the evening, the matter was adjourned to July 14.
The BJP has accused him of corruption by obtaining a mining lease while in power, and asked Bais to dismiss him. In March, the governor referred the matter to the EC.
Following this, the EC summoned Soren on May 10, after which he gave him two extensions.
Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 bars legislators from obtaining government contracts. Soren is expected to cite a 1964 Supreme Court judgement that exempts mining leases from the section.