Jharkhand moves SC over HC order on Hemant Soren
The Jharkhand government has moved the Supreme Court challenging an order of Jharkhand High Court which had accepted the maintainability of a plea seeking probe against chief minister Hemant Soren for alleged irregularities in grant of mining lease and also into the transactions of some shell companies allegedly operated by his family members and associates.
On June 3, the high court had said it was of the considered opinion that the writ petitions cannot be thrown away on the ground of maintainability and it will proceed to hear the matters on merit.
“This court, after having answered the issue, as framed by this court, and on the basis of discussions made hereinabove, is summing up its view and is of the considered opinion that the writ petitions cannot be thrown away on the ground of maintainability,” a division bench of the high court had said in its order.
Prior to that, on May 24, the apex court had asked the high court to first hear the preliminary objections on the maintainability of the public interest litigation (PIL) seeking probe in the matter.
The top court had observed that the high court had itself in its May 13 order said it would deal with the maintainability of PIL, filed by Shiv Shankar Sharma, upfront and then it would go into the merit of allegations levelled in the petition.
“The issue of maintainability should be dealt with by the high court on the next date of listing when the proceedings are taken up. Based on the outcome of the objections to the maintainability of the proceedings, the high court may thereafter proceed in accordance with law,” the apex court had said.
It had passed the May 24 order on the petition filed by the state against two orders of the high court in the matter.
The top court had also made clear that it has not made any observation with regard to the merit of the case and has not dealt with the allegations levelled in the petition.
It had noted that three PILs, including two filed by Sharma, have been filed before the high court seeking investigation by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the allegations of corruption, misuse of office and money laundering against the chief minister.
Soren has denied the allegations levelled against him.
The other PIL has been filed by one Arun Kumar Dubey in 2019 that has led to an ED probe in the alleged MNREGA scam where around Rs 17 crore has been purportedly found from the chartered accountant of an IAS officer.
The ED had submitted its report before the high court in a sealed cover on the fresh findings following the raids and arrest of suspended mines secretary Pooja Singhal and chartered accountant Suman Kumar in connection with the alleged MNREGA scam.
The ED had also informed the high court that massive bungling of funds in MNREGA schemes took place while Singhal was posted as the Khunti deputy commissioner and as many as 15 FIRs have alleged money laundering.
Sharma, in his PIL filed in 2022, has claimed that several shell companies were formed to launder money embezzled from different welfare funds meant for Jharkhand.
He has also alleged that Soren and his acquaintances are involved in the racket of running shell companies.