Probe against Hemant Soren: No interim order from SC on Jharkhand government appeal challenging HC order

The Supreme Court Friday refused to pass any interim directions on a Jharkhand government appeal challenging an order of the high court which had accepted the maintainability of a plea seeking a probe against Chief Minister Hemant Soren in mining cases.

“Let the high court decide the matter. The issue cannot be entertained piecemeal,” a vacation bench of Justices J K Maheshwari and Hima Kohli said. The top court posted the matter for hearing before an appropriate bench post-summer vacations on the request of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the state government.

Rohatgi said the case against the chief minister was politically motivated to destabilise the government.

The senior advocate said the high court is hearing the matter on a day-to-day basis and it was difficult for him to comprehend the urgency of the case. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said he would explain the urgency of the case.

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The plea before the Jharkhand High Court has sought a probe into alleged irregularities in the grant of mining leases and also into the transactions of some shell companies allegedly operated by Soren’s 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.

In its June 3 order, a division bench of the high court had said, “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.” Before 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 a probe in the matter.

“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 the 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 concerning the merit of the case and has not dealt with the allegations levelled in the petition.

It had noted that three PILs have been filed before the high court seeking an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (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.

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