Hemant Soren Granted Bail in Land Scam Case

The Jharkhand High Court has granted bail to former Chief Minister Hemant Soren in a money laundering case linked to a land scam
Hemant Soren Granted Bail in Land Scam Case

The Jharkhand High Court has granted bail to former Chief Minister Hemant Soren in a money laundering case linked to a land scam. Soren, who is also the executive president of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), had been lodged in Birsa Munda Jail in Ranchi since his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 31.

Soren’s lawyer, Arunabh Chowdhury, stated that the court found Soren not guilty of the charges. Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora argued that Soren was being unfairly targeted in a politically motivated and fabricated case.

The ED had accused Soren of misusing his position to acquire 8.86 acres of land in Ranchi. ED counsel SV Raju claimed that witnesses confirmed Soren's involvement in the illegal land deal. Additionally, Soren's media consultant, Abhishek Prasad, admitted that Soren instructed him to manipulate official records to change the land ownership details.

Despite multiple summonses from the ED, Soren was only arrested on January 31. His lawyer, Kapil Sibal, contended that the alleged land grabbing was not an offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and argued that the issue was a civil dispute over property rights, not a criminal matter. Sibal further alleged that the proceedings were driven by ulterior motives aimed at keeping Soren incarcerated.

Soren had resigned as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand before his arrest, with his loyalist Champai Soren succeeding him as the state's Chief Minister.

The bail decision comes shortly after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was granted bail in the Delhi excise policy case, though the ED later secured a stay on the bail order, and the CBI subsequently arrested Kejriwal in connection with the same case.

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