Hemant Soren gets bail in land scam case

Ranchi: Former Chief Minister Hemant Soren, implicated in the 8.86-acre land scam in Bariatu’s Bargai, has been granted bail by the Jharkhand High Court.

Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay presided over the case and approved Soren’s bail application.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the court had reserved its decision on June 13.

Senior Supreme Court advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Soren, argued that the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) case was unfounded, characterizing it as a land dispute rather than a criminal offense. Sibal claimed that Soren had been wrongly accused and that his arrest was unlawful. He accused the ED of attempting to forcibly establish Soren’s possession of the land in question.

On the other hand, ED lawyer SV Raju argued that Soren had unlawfully occupied 8.86 acres of land in Bargai Anchal, which constituted money laundering under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002.

Notably, Soren was arrested on January 31 in connection with the land scam. The ED has since completed its investigation and filed a charge sheet against five individuals, including Soren, on March 30.

Additionally, a supplementary charge sheet was filed against ten more accused, including JMM leader Antu Tirkey.

In the same case, Afsar Ali, JMM leader Antu Tirkey, Priyaranjan Sahay, Vipin Singh, Irshad, and 22 others have also been arrested.

It’s worth noting that, on Thursday, the PMLA court in Ranchi extended Soren’s judicial custody by 14 days. Soren, facing money laundering charges related to the land scam, appeared before the special PMLA court via video conferencing along with other accused individuals. The next court appearance for all accused is scheduled for July 11.

Other accused who appeared through video conferencing included suspended revenue employee Bhanu Pratap, JMM leader Antu Tirkey, Md. Saddam, Md. Afsar Ali, Vipin Singh, Priyaranjan Sahay, Irshad Akhtar, Shekhar Kushwaha, Md. Irshad, and two employees of Kolkata’s Registrar of Assurance, Tapas Ghosh and Sanjit Kumar. Following their appearance, the court decided to extend the judicial custody of all the accused individuals for 14 days.

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