News Brief

Jharkhand HC Grants Bail To Former CM Hemant Soren In Land Scam Case, Likely To Be Released From Jail

Swarajya Staff

Jun 28, 2024, 12:43 PM | Updated 12:43 PM IST

Jharkhand CM and JMM leader Hemant Soren (Ghoseb/Wikimedia Commons)
Jharkhand CM and JMM leader Hemant Soren (Ghoseb/Wikimedia Commons)

The Jharkhand High Court granted bail to former Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Friday in a money laundering case involving the illegal possession of 8.36 acres of land.

With no other cases pending against him, Soren is expected to be released from jail soon.

Soren was arrested on 31 January following his resignation as Jharkhand Chief Minister.

He was succeeded by party loyalist and state minister Champai Soren.

The case's origin traces back to the 2023 arrest of Bhanu Pratap Prasad, a land revenue inspector in the Badhgaain area.

Prasad was arrested in a land-grab syndicate that allegedly falsified land records.

Several original land records were recovered from Prasad, along with an image of the 8.36-acre land parcel purportedly in Soren’s illegal possession.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been investigating multiple cases in Jharkhand, including illegal mining, a 2009 MGNREGA scam, and the alleged illegal sale and purchase of an Army plot in Ranchi.

During the Army land investigation, Bhanu Pratap Prasad, then a revenue sub-inspector of the Bargaain Circle Office, emerged as a key figure linked to Soren.

The ED claimed that Prasad was part of a syndicate that acquired properties illegally, using force and falsified government records.

Prasad was reportedly the custodian of several original registers, known as Panji 2, where land ownership details were manipulated.

According to the ED, Soren is among the people Bhanu Pratap “hatched conspiracies with” to take over properties.

The agency alleged that details of the illegally acquired/possessed properties have been found on Bhanu Pratap’s mobile phone.

While the Bhanu Pratap Prasad was in custody, his phone’s data was extracted, and several chats related to cash transactions, illegal benefits to others in acquiring land, etc., were identified, the ED claimed, Indian Express reported.

However, the former Jharkhand CM has always rubbished the charges saying that the land had been “wrongfully alleged to be owned” by him. He said the plot was actually ‘Bhuinhari’ land, which under the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act cannot be transferred to anyone.

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