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'Arrest part of well-orchestrated conspiracy': Hemant Soren moves bail petition

The special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court fixed April 23 as the next date of hearing after the Enforcement Directorate sought time to file a reply to it.
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 17:06 IST
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 17:06 IST

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Ranchi: Former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren moved a bail petition before a special court in Ranchi on Tuesday, 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 special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court fixed April 23 as the next date of hearing after the Enforcement Directorate sought time to file a reply to it.

The petition alleged, 'The entire prosecution and arrest of the Petitioner is politically motivated by extraneous considerations and is part of a well-orchestrated conspiracy by the Central Government to browbeat, intimidate and humiliate the prominent opposition leaders like the Petitioner herein so as to coerce them to join the Bharatiya Janata Party or to be part of the National Democratic Alliance.' Soren was arrested by the ED on January 31 in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam immediately after he resigned as the CM.

He is at present in judicial custody and lodged at the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi.

Soren, in the petition settled by senior advocate Arunabh Chowdhury, alleged 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 by filing make belief trumped up prosecution on flimsy and vexatious allegations; that too at the anvil of the General Elections 2024'.

The perusal of the prosecution's complaint will itself establish how Soren has been sought to be falsely implicated in the case, the petition claimed.

Soren, 48, further said in the petition 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 in Jharkhand and the alliance candidates across the country.

'There is extreme urgency in the matter and if the Petitioner is not released forthwith to participate in the election campaign at a time when the election process 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 at a time when the democracy in India is under severe onslaught at the instance of the Bhartiya Janata Party (sic),' the petition said.

The probe against Soren pertains to an 8.86-acre plot in Ranchi that the ED alleged was illegally acquired by the former CM.

A charge sheet was filed by the ED against Soren and his associates on March 30 before the PMLA court.

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Published 16 April 2024, 17:06 IST

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