Jharkhand HC dismisses PIL against Hemant Soren on mining lease allocation - Hindustan Times
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Jharkhand HC dismisses PIL against Hemant Soren on mining lease allocation

Dec 27, 2023 08:34 PM IST

Soren had been summoned by the agency six times in the past three months, in an ongoing money laundering probe related to an alleged land scam in the state capital

The Jharkhand high court on Wednesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a probe by central agencies against chief minister Hemant Soren and family members, people aware of the development said.

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren (File Photo)
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren (File Photo)

The bench of chief justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra and Anand Sen, which had reserved its order on November 29, 2023, termed the PIL filed by activist Sunil Mahto as “non-maintainable”.

The petitioner had prayed for a probe by the central agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), against Soren for allegedly “illegally granting mining lease to himself and an industrial plot to his close family members”.

“The bench ruled that the Supreme Court has already rejected another PIL with similar allegations. This PIL also has similar facts, hence, this too is non-maintainable and is being dismissed,” an advocate involved in the hearing said.

The Supreme Court on November 8, 2022, dismissed the PIL filed by one Shiv Shankar Sharma seeking a CBI and ED probe against Soren, citing questionable credentials of the petitioner besides citing the high court rules for filing PILs.

The high court’s verdict came as a breather for the chief minister who is already under the ED’s scanner. Soren had been summoned by the agency six times in the past three months, in an ongoing money laundering probe related to an alleged land scam in the state capital.

During the hearing, advocate general Rajiv Ranjan had sought dismissal of the petition, arguing that Mahto’s petition is similar in terms of facts raised in the petition dismissed by the apex court. The petitioner on the other hand, argued that his PIL was different as he had also introduced new facts about granting of industrial plot and his petition was filed as per the rules.

Mahto in his PIL had alleged that 11 acres at Chanho in Ranchi district had been allotted to a company owned by the chief minister’s wife and his sister-in-law in 2021 while another 88 decimal in Angara block in the same district had been allotted to Soren himself the same year.

The bench of chief justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra, who retires on December 31, however, termed the petition non-maintainable and dismissed the PIL.

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