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"Arrest Of Soren Not Like Kejriwal": ED Argues In Supreme Court Against Former Jharkhand CM's Plea, No Decision Made

Swarajya Staff

May 21, 2024, 06:10 PM | Updated 06:10 PM IST

Hemant Soren. (Image via X)
Hemant Soren. (Image via X)

On Tuesday (21 May), the Supreme Court's hearing on an interim bail plea filed by former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren concluded without a decision.

Soren, who has been in custody since his arrest on 31 January 2024 in a money laundering case, sought interim bail to canvass for votes ahead of the last two phases of polling in the Lok Sabha elections scheduled on 25 May and 1 June.

A vacation bench of justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma stated that Soren's case required "intense debate", not just for interim bail but also for quashing his arrest.

The judges noted that Soren had previously been denied bail by the Special Court on 3 May, and that the trial court had taken cognisance of the case, indicating a prima facie finding of guilt based on the available evidence.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju distinguished Soren's case from that of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court on 10 May to canvass for votes in the Lok Sabha polls.

He pointed out that the Special Court had found material suggesting Soren's guilt, and the cognisance order had not been challenged.

"The arrest of Mr. Soren was not like Mr. Kejriwal's case, which occurred days after the Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha polls came into force... Interim bail in this case would open a Pandora's box," Raju argued.

Justice Datta questioned whether a challenge to the arrest could survive the Special Court's cognisance order.

"The Special Court has already applied its judicial mind to the evidence against you (Soren) and found it satisfactory. Can a writ court intervene now?" Justice Datta asked.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Soren, responded by questioning whether a constitutional court could refuse to address "the question of a man's freedom and the illegality of his arrest."

"Satisfy us that despite two orders of bail rejection and the cognisance order, the challenge to the arrest will survive," Justice Datta told Sibal.

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