Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren did not appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with its fourth summons on Saturday for a probe into an alleged money-laundering charge and instead informed the federal agency about challenging the summons in the high court.
A special messenger from chief minister’s secretariat submitted a sealed envelope at the Ranchi zonal office of the ED at 1pm informing about the chief minister approaching Jharkhand High Court and that any further action should be taken based on the high court order.
The chief minister’s legal counsel, Piyush Chitresh, speaking to The Telegraph said that a writ petition was filed at 11am in Jharkhand High Court challenging the ED summons and seeking relief.
The writ petition filed by the chief minister informs that he had approached the Supreme Court against the ED summons and similar relief and it was withdrawn on September 18 on the directive of the apex court which gave the petitioner (chief minister) the liberty to move before the jurisdictional high court (Jharkhand in this case).
While hearing the petition of Soren in the Supreme Court, the bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Bela Madhurya Trivedi had said hearing of the case should start from the high court. After the second summons of ED on August 24, the chief minister had reached the Supreme Court in August.
Sources in the ED Ranchi zonal office have maintained silence over the developments.
Soren had not appeared for three other ED summons in recent months.
According to legal experts in the Jharkhand Advocate General's office, the ED can continue to send summons till the high court takes up hearing of the chief minister’s petition and passes a decision. The ED can also pray for an arrest warrant or attachment of properties in the special ED court in Ranchi if the chief minister fails to attend summons and there is no order from the court against coercive action on him.