The Jharkhand government on Thursday informed the High Court that it has moved the Supreme Court challenging a plea seeking probes by CBI and the Enforcement Directorate into the mining lease allegedly granted to Chief Minister Hemant Soren and some shell companies operated by his family members and associates.
Appearing on behalf of the state, advocate Kapil Sibal told a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad that the high court should take up the matter only after it is heard by the apex court.
Sibal said the case is expected to be taken up soon in the Supreme Court.
The high court then fixed the matter to be heard again on May 24.
We have gone through the sealed reports of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and prima facie feel it is a case in interest of the public and the PIL ought to be heard, the bench observed earlier.
Sibal said that the government has not been given a copy of the report furnished by the ED.
Replying to the statement, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, said that the agency cannot provide documents to anyone except the court till the investigation is pending and a charge sheet is filed.
The division bench also pulled up the Jharkhand government for furnishing an affidavit signed by Ranchi Deputy Commissioner Chhavi Ranjan saying that he is an accused in a criminal case and cannot swear on behalf of the state.
A case was registered against Ranjan under the Prevention of Corruption Act for having cut and sold six trees in the official bungalow while he was posted as the deputy commissioner at Koderma.
The court was hearing a PIL pertaining to the chief minister holding an office of profit by allegedly obtaining a mining license in his favour. The petitioner also claimed that several shell companies were formed to launder money from various welfare funds meant for Jharkhand.
The PIL has mentioned the operation of shell companies allegedly created by arrested IAS officer Puja Singhal.
Singhal is now in ED custody in connection with money laundering cases linked to the alleged embezzlement of MGNREGA funds.
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First Published: May 20 2022 | 6:55 AM IST