Supreme Court refuses to consider Hemant Soren plea for interim bail

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to consider the plea of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren for interim bail in the money laundering case related to a land scam. The former Chief Minister sought interim bail on the purpose for the Lok Sabha elections campaign.

The bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta directed the listing of the matter before a vacation bench of the Supreme Court on May 21. Hemant Soren moved the top court against the Jharkhand High Court's dismissal of his plea against his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the ED, sought for time when the matter was taken for hearing today. The apex court asked the ASG about the prayer for interim bail. Responding, the ASG said that the former chief minister was arrested long back on January 31, and his regular bail applications were dismissed. He further stated that four phases of elections are already over.

On the bench's query regarding his denial of any involvement, the ASG said that Hemant Soren is directly connected with the land. Subsequently, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Hemant Soren, countered that ED says that proceeds of crime is the land, but there is no material to show. He added that the next phases of elections are on May 20, 25th and June 1. 

To this, Justice Khanna said that what the evidence they have relied upon is the statement of the person who was actually found in the land, they have taken photographs, and there is a boundary wall. Second, there is somebody else involved, and slips are inserted saying CM was interested, he continued.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna further mentioned that unless the bench is prima facie satisfied, no order can be passed. The top court bench also pointed out that there is no time for an elaborate hearing today as Arvind Kejriwal's case was listed for hearing at 2.30 PM. 

Consecutively, the bench adjourned the hearing, directing the ED to file its reply by Monday.