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“Misusing State Machinery”: Probe Agency Opposes Hemant Soren’s Bail In SC

Hemant Soren

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate informed the Supreme Court on Monday that former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren is allegedly trying to obstruct the investigation into the money laundering case against him by exploiting state resources. They opposed his request for interim bail to participate in campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections, stating that granting such special treatment to politicians would set a precedent. The ED argued that politicians shouldn’t receive preferential treatment over ordinary citizens and allowing Soren’s plea could prompt similar requests from other incarcerated politicians.

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A vacation bench led by Justice Dipankar Datta is set to hear Soren’s plea on Tuesday, challenging his arrest and seeking interim bail. The ED, in a counter-affidavit, accused Soren of attempting to manipulate the investigation and legitimizing illicit funds through proxies. They cited evidence suggesting Soren’s involvement in acquiring and possessing properties obtained through criminal means.

The agency emphasized that election campaigning is not a fundamental, constitutional, or legal right, and there’s no justification for treating politicians differently from other professionals like farmers or businessmen. Granting special privileges to Soren could lead to similar demands from other politicians, undermining the judicial process.

The ED reiterated that Soren’s arrest has been upheld by the Jharkhand High Court, and his bail application was rejected by the trial court. They insisted that Soren must challenge the rejection of his bail application in the high court before seeking further relief. Additionally, they accused Soren of misusing state machinery and intimidating witnesses to influence the case’s outcome.

Describing Soren as a highly influential figure, the ED claimed he had filed false cases against officials to obstruct the investigation. They argued that granting him interim bail could lead to witness tampering and hinder the evidence-gathering process.

Soren had sought interim bail citing a precedent set by the Supreme Court in a similar money laundering case involving Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. However, the ED opposed his plea, asserting that each case should be evaluated independently.

As of now, Soren remains in judicial custody at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail. The Supreme Court had recently granted interim bail to Kejriwal in a separate money laundering case, allowing him to campaign in the Lok Sabha polls under certain restrictions.

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