New Delhi [India], August 17 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed proceedings before the Jharkhand High Court on PILs filed against Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren for alleged money laundering through shell companies and obtaining a mining lease while he was in power.
A bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia also reserved its order on a plea filed by the Jharkhand government and Chief Minister challenging the High Court's order which accepted the maintainability of PIL seeking a probe against Soren.
The bench asked the High Court not to proceed with the PILs as the case is pending before it.
In its order, the apex court stated, "Heard counsels of the petitioners. Order reserved. Since the Court is seized of the matter, the High Court shall not proceed further with writ petitions."
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the State government, submitted that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) produced materials in a sealed cover to the High Court without there being any incriminating evidence against the Chief Minister.
The original petitioner did not file a First Information Report (FIR) and directly approached the High Court, Sibal said
The bench during the hearing observed, "We are only concerned with this. The Chief Minister already had 0.88 acres of land before he assumed office. It's not as if the office was misused to amass wealth."
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the ED, opposed the plea and argued that any petition which shows corruption cannot be thrown out on technicalities and the credentials of the petitioner become irrelevant when there is an offence.
The top court was hearing a plea of the Jharkhand government and Soren challenging the June 3 order of the High Court admitting the PILs filed by one Shiv Shankar Sharma demanding a probe against the Chief Minister and his family for grant of mining leases, alleged money laundering by shell companies linked to him and MNREGA contracts of 2010. (ANI)