National News Report Politics

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren Gets Bail

The Jharkhand High Court has granted bail to former Chief Minister Hemant Soren in a high-profile money laundering case linked to a land scam. His lawyer, Arunabh Chowdhury, stated that the prima facie court found Soren not guilty of the alleged offence. The court had previously reserved its decision on Soren’s bail plea on June 13.

Hemant Soren, the executive president of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 31 on charges of money laundering. The ED accused him of manipulating records through fictitious transactions and forged documents to acquire 8.86 acres of land in Ranchi, valued at crores. Soren has consistently denied these charges, alleging that his arrest was a politically motivated move by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to disrupt the opposition ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The bail order was granted upon payment of two sureties of ₹50,000 each. Mr Soren’s counsel, Arunabh Chowdhury, highlighted that the court found no likelihood of Soren committing an offence while out on bail. This decision comes after Soren’s series of setbacks last month.

Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, representing Soren, argued that the case was fabricated and politically driven. ED counsel SV Raju had claimed that witnesses confirmed Soren’s involvement in the illegal land deal, with Soren’s media consultant admitting to manipulating official records under Soren’s instructions.

Kapil Sibal, another lawyer for Soren, contended that the allegations did not constitute an offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), framing them instead as a civil dispute over property rights. He further alleged that the criminal proceedings were intended to imprison Soren for ulterior motives. Following his arrest, Hemant Soren resigned as Chief Minister of Jharkhand, and his loyalist Champai Soren assumed the position.

The bail comes days after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal got bail in the Delhi excise policy case. However, the Enforcement Directorate later secured a stay on the bail order from the Delhi High Court. Later, the CBI arrested him in connection with the same case. With no other cases against him, Hemant Soren is expected to be released soon.

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