A special bench of three Supreme Court judges will hear arrested Jharkhand leader Hemant Soren’s petition challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate.
The special bench of Justice Sanjeev Khanna, Justice MM Sundaresh, and Justice Bela Trivedi will hear tomorrow the petition which requests Mr Soren’s immediate release.
Hemant Soren, the beleaguered Chief Minister of Jharkhand, accused the ED of arresting him as part of a “well-orchestrated conspiracy” by the Centre ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Mr Soren had to resign his post over the agency’s actions against him.
Mr Soren has urged the top court in his plea to declare his arrest unwarranted, arbitrary, and in violation of his fundamental rights, reported news agency PTI.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader was arrested yesterday in a money laundering case linked to the “illegal” possession of huge parcels of land and his alleged association with the “land mafia”.
The arrest has curtailed Mr Soren’s liberty and ED officers have abused their powers for extraneous considerations under the dictates of the Central government as the Petitioner is the leader of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, a prominent Opposition party and an active constituent of the INDIA bloc, the plea said.
“The arrest is part of a well-orchestrated conspiracy which has been given shape at the anvil of the general elections slated in a few months,” it said.
Narrating the sequence of his arrest, Mr Soren, 48, said he had moved a plea before the top court on January 31 apprehending his arrest by the ED.
“It was requested that Respondent No. 2 (the ED) should await the outcome of the proceedings before the Supreme Court,” the plea said.
Despite the intimation, the ED took Mr Soren into “illegal custody with the deliberate intent to interfere with the present Writ Petition”, it added.
In his petition, Hemant Soren said he was arrested from the Raj Bhavan when he went to tender his resignation as the Chief Minister with MLAs from his party and those of his allies who enjoy a clear majority in the state assembly.
He alleged the ED’s action, at the behest of the Centre, was aimed at toppling his democratically elected government.
The former Chief Minister said the alleged recovery of Rs 36 lakh from his Delhi residence on January 29 cannot be a ground for arrest.
“The said premises is a leasehold property of the state of Jharkhand and is used for residential and office purposes by the state. No notice of the search was given to the state of Jharkhand or the petitioner. It does not appear from the grounds of arrest that videography was made of the search. There is no material alleged in the grounds of arrest to link the cash amounting to Rs 36 lakhs allegedly recovered from the said premises with the predicate (main or scheduled) offence,” he said.