The Supreme Court on Friday refused to halt the Jharkhand High Court’s proceedings against Chief Minister Hemant Soren on PILs seeking a CBI/ED probe against him in connection with the grant of mining lease and transfer of funds into shell companies.
Hearing a plea against the High Court order which had upheld the maintainability of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against Soren, a bench comprising Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice Hima Kohli asked the petitioner to approach the High Court with the matter.
“We cannot look at it in a piecemeal way. High Court has already decided what we had asked them to,” the bench said.
Now, the matter will be heard after the summer vacation of the court.
Last month, the apex court had directed the Jharkhand High Court to decide on the maintainability of the PILs. The top court was informed that there were PILs before the High Court, where one of the PILs sought an ED investigation pertaining to alleged offences arising out of the disbursement of MGNREGA funds.
The other sought a probe into the alleged transfer of money by the Soren family to certain companies. The third PIL sought sanctioning prosecution of the Chief Minister for obtaining mining leases under his own name. Therefore, he is allegedly liable to be charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Jharkhand High Court has tagged these three PILs together. The Jharkhand government has sought the dismissal of the PILs on grounds of maintainability. The state government challenged the decision of the High Court to accept the documents produced by the ED in a sealed cover, over ruling the state government’s objections.
During the hearing, the top court noted that on May 13, the High Court decided to hear preliminary objections to the maintainability of the petitions and clarified that it has gone into the merits of the allegations.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Jharkhand government, had submitted that the PIL petitioner had suppressed the fact that he had filed similar cases before and added that the petitioner is politically motivated.
The Jharkhand government moved the top court challenging a division bench order of the High Court, where it declined to entertain the state’s objection to the acceptance of documents in a sealed cover.