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'Can't entertain plea not filed with clean hands,' SC refuses to consider plea by Hemant Soren

A bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma said the petitioner has not come with clean hands and did not disclose the fact that the cognisance had already been taken in the complaint by the Enforcement Directorate and his bail plea was dismissed.
shish Tripathi
Last Updated : 22 May 2024, 07:08 IST
Last Updated : 22 May 2024, 07:08 IST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea for interim bail by ex Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren in a money laundering case related to alleged land scam in Ranchi, saying his conduct was not free from blemish.

A bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma said the petitioner has not come with clean hands and did not disclose the fact that the cognisance had already been taken in the complaint by the Enforcement Directorate and his bail plea was dismissed.

"We cannot consider a plea by the man whose conduct is with blemish," the bench said.

Even though senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Soren sought to make a distinction that taking of cognisance would not come in the way of writ petition related to liberty, the court, however, remained unmoved, asking to why he did not disclose the material facts of the case.

The court referred to the fact that the cognisance was taken on the complaint on April 4, 2024 and this was not mentioned in the instant plea.

When parallel proceedings were pursued, we expected a level of condour, the bench said.

Sibal contended the fault was on the part of the counsel and not the client who was inside the jail.

"Your conduct is not free from blemish. It is blameworthy. So you may take your chance elsewhere," the bench said.

Sibal finally withdrew the petition filed against May 3 judgment of the High Court, which dismissed his plea questioning the validity of arrest by the Enforcement Directorate on January 31.

During the hearing, the bench also observed the court had been working during the summer vacations and the people in governance should be mindful of it and consider addressing the delay in filing petitions.

Earlier, Sibal sought a parity for Soren with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who was on May 10 ordered to be released on interim bail till June 1 for campaign during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

On Monday, the Supreme Court on had asked Soren to justify if it can examine legality of his arrest since the order refusing bail noted that there is a prima facie case made out against him.

The court had said that the Enforcement Directorate has a good case on merits in the matter but it would have to be looked at from a different perspective in view of subsequent developments.

The probe against Soren is in relation to an 8.86-acre plot of land in Ranchi that the ED has alleged was illegally acquired by him. The money laundering investigation arose from multiple FIRs registered in land "scam" cases against several people, including state government officials.

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Published 22 May 2024, 07:08 IST

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