News Brief

'Sailing Through August' A Challenge For Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren; BJP Demands Disqualification Over Mining Lease Case

Swarajya Staff

Aug 18, 2022, 03:25 PM | Updated 03:25 PM IST

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
  • BJP is demanding disqualification of the Soren brothers as MLAs in the mining lease case.
  • EC is likely to pronounce its verdict in August in the cases.
  • While Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren got relief from Supreme Court on Wednesday (17 August) in the mining lease case, the month of August seems challenging for him and his brother Basant Soren.

    This was reflected in BJP MP from Godda, Dr Nishikant Dubey's tweet when he quoted a tweet about SC's relief and said, "One blow of blacksmith is worth a hundred blows of a goldsmith. Let's see if CM sails through August."

    This is not the first time Dubey has given the 'August challenge' to the CM. When he was in Dumka on Tuesday, he said it is very likely that Dumka and Barhait will soon have assembly by-polls and asked to "wait till 31 August".

    CM Soren is MLA from Barhait and his brother Basant from Dumka. Dubey was referring to the cases that the Soren brothers are facing before the SC, Jharkhand High Court, Election Commission (EC) and Lokpal.

    While the SC has restrained the Jharkhand HC from proceeding with PILs seeking a probe against Hemant Soren, the EC is likely to pronounce its verdict soon in a case of mining lease issued in Soren's favour when he held the Mining and Environment portfolios.

    The hearing against the Soren brothers in two separate cases before EC was scheduled to be held on 12 August. Hemant Soren's case hearing was completed and the commission asked both parties to file a written response by Friday, after which a verdict will be announced.

    Whereas, according to Hindustan, ruling party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Manoj Pandey told that Basant Soren's case would be heard on 22 August. He faces charges of being a partner in a mining company that received the lease.

    BJP leaders had approached the Jharkhand governor Ramesh Bais claiming that owning a lease violates Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act 1951, which deals with Disqualification for Government contracts, etc.

    On BJP's demand for disqualification of the Soren brothers as MLAs, the governor sought Election Commission's intervention. The commission sent a notice to Soren in May, and since then the case is being heard.

    Hence, Dubey's threat is not entirely a case of political posturing as the EC may decide to disqualify the Soren brothers and by-polls will be needed thereafter. Also, the verdicts are likely to be announced this month itself, hence, the 'August challenge'.

    Apart from EC, a plea before the Jharkhand HC had also sought a probe into alleged irregularities in the grant of mining lease as also into the transactions of some shell companies allegedly linked to the chief minister's family members and associates.

    On 3 June, the high court had said it was of the considered opinion that writ petitions cannot be thrown away on the ground of maintainability and it will proceed to hear the matters on merit.

    Separate pleas of the Jharkhand government and Soren against the high court order were heard in the SC where a bench of Justices U U Lalit, S R Bhat, and Sudhanshu Dhulia reserved its judgement.

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