If Hemant Soren Is Granted Interim Bail For Campaigning, Then All Jailed Politicians Will Seek Similar Treatment: ED Tells Supreme Court

ED: Interim bail for Soren sets precedent; jailed politicians will follow suit.

ED: Interim bail for Soren sets precedent; jailed politicians will follow suit.

In the latest development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a reply before the Supreme Court, opposing the interim bail plea of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren. Soren has been in judicial custody since his arrest by the agency in a money laundering case related to an alleged land scam.

The ED’s response comes as Soren seeks interim bail to campaign during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The agency argued that granting such bail would set a problematic precedent, potentially leading to similar requests from other jailed politicians. The ED emphasized that interim bail should not be used as a tool to facilitate political activities, particularly when serious charges like money laundering are involved.

The High Court had dismissed Soren’s plea against the ED’s arrest, a decision that Soren has contested. The Supreme Court is now tasked with considering the question of interim bail for Soren for campaigning purposes.

Today, the matter is listed before a bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma. The court will evaluate whether Soren should be granted temporary relief to participate in election campaigns, balancing this against the legal and ethical implications highlighted by the ED.

The case has significant political and legal ramifications. Soren, a key leader of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), plays a crucial role in state and national politics. His detention has stirred political debates, with his supporters claiming that the charges are politically motivated, while opponents argue for the rule of law and accountability.

The Supreme Court’s decision on interim bail will be closely watched, not just for its immediate impact on Soren’s ability to campaign, but also for its broader implications on how the judiciary handles similar cases in the future. If the court grants interim bail, it could open the door for other politicians in custody to seek similar relief, potentially complicating the enforcement of legal actions against those accused of serious crimes.

On the other hand, denying bail could reinforce the principle that legal processes should not be circumvented for political convenience, upholding the integrity of judicial proceedings. The court’s ruling will need to carefully consider these factors, setting a precedent that balances individual rights, legal accountability, and the broader public interest.

As the bench deliberates, the legal community and political observers await a decision that will likely influence future interpretations of interim bail in politically sensitive cases.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) staunchly opposes granting interim bail to former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren for poll campaigning, arguing that such a decision would set a troublesome precedent. They contend that politicians would exploit this ‘special treatment’ to avoid legal consequences, claiming a unique status that allows them to campaign while incarcerated. According to the ED, the right to campaign is neither a fundamental nor a constitutional nor a legal right.

Furthermore, the agency asserts that acceding to Soren’s request would undermine the rule of law. They emphasize that no politician should evade arrest and judicial custody by seeking preferential treatment. The ED alleges that Soren has abused state machinery to obstruct investigations, filing baseless cases against officials under false pretenses, particularly under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The ED’s case against Soren revolves around his alleged involvement in acquiring and possessing properties obtained through illegal means. They claim that Soren camouflaged these activities to conceal the proceeds of crime, specifically pointing to an 8.86-acre property in Ranchi. Various statements under the PMLA, 2002, purportedly establish Soren’s unlawful possession of this property.

Moreover, the ED argues that Soren’s only legal recourse at this stage is to challenge the rejection of his bail application before the High Court. Until this order is challenged and overturned, Soren remains ineligible to seek release from custody.

Soren’s arrest by the ED on January 31 stems from allegations of his involvement in a land scam in Jharkhand, where he is accused of benefiting from fraudulently acquired land. His resignation as Chief Minister preceded his arrest, and he has remained in custody since then.

In summary, the ED vehemently opposes granting Soren interim bail, citing concerns about setting a precedent, undermining the rule of law, and the serious nature of the allegations against him. They argue that his legal recourse lies in challenging the rejection of his bail application rather than seeking preferential treatment for campaigning purposes.

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