Special PMLA court grants one more week to ED for reply on Hemant Soren’s bail petition

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Hemant Soren Enforcement Directorate

Ranchi: A special PMLA court on Tuesday granted one more week to the Enforcement Directorate to reply to the bail petition of former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren.

The court also fixed May 1 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

Soren was arrested by the ED on January 31 in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam. He is at present in judicial custody and lodged at the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi.

The ED had sought another two weeks to file a reply to Soren's bail petition, which was opposed by the former CM’s cousels, who claimed that the probe agency wanted to deliberately delay the bail so that he could not come out of jail and campaign.

Soren was represented virtually by senior lawyers Kapil Sibal and Arunabh Chowdhury.

The PMLA court granted only one week to the ED and directed no further adjournments.

Soren had on April 16 moved a bail petition before the special court, alleging that his arrest by the ED was politically motivated, and part of a well-orchestrated conspiracy to coerce him to join the BJP.

The court had fixed April 23 as the next date of hearing after the ED sought time to file a reply to it.

Soren, in the petition, alleged that the action against him was a clear case of "political vendetta and is a malicious prosecution by the central government by misusing the investigating agency i.e. the Enforcement Directorate".

The 48-year-old former CM also said that he is the working president of the JMM, which is a founding member of the INDIA bloc, and with the Lok Sabha elections beginning, he is actively required to campaign for his party and the alliance candidates.

"There is extreme urgency in the matter and if the petitioner is not released forthwith to participate in the election campaign... would enable the central government to succeed in its sinister design to keep the petitioner away from the campaign trail and deny a level-playing field," it added.