Jharkhand: Today, the Jharkhand High Court allowed the amendment application filed by former CM Hemant Soren, challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 in an alleged land scam.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Shree Chandrashekhar and Justice Rajesh Kumar has asked ED to file a comprehensive reply in the matter within 2 weeks
Opposing the amendment application, ED said that the amendment plea goes beyond the whole scheme of the original petition. While the original plea focused on power to issue summons under Section 50 PMLA, the amendment application focuses on power of arrest under Section 19, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju pointed out.
This was immediately countered by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Soren. In an order dated February 2, the Supreme Court granted liberty to Soren to amend his petition before the High Court, he said.
This prompted the Bench to allow the amendment application.
As the hearing progressed, Sibal also requested the Court to expeditiously hear the matter on merits. He submitted that ED had already filed its reply on merits. Pressing for an urgent hearing, he said that Soren’s liberty was in question, in the present plea.
According to the court, both, a formal notice and sufficient time must be granted to the central agency for filing a comprehensive counter affidavit.
Soren was arrested by the ED for alleged involvement in a significant land scam in Jharkhand, where he is accused of being the primary beneficiary of fraudulently acquired land. The arrest followed Soren's resignation as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand.
The Court will hear the matter next on February 27.