The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Jharkhand High Court to decide on the maintainability of the public interest litigations seeking enquiry against Chief Minister Hemant Soren and others in relation to the grant of mining leases.
A Vacation Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Bela M Trivedi directed Jharkhand HC to decide the issue of maintainability on the next date of listing.
The court also said that based on the outcome of the maintainability of the proceedings, the HC may thereafter proceed in accordance with the law. The top court was hearing the Jharkhand government appeal questioning the High Court order adopting submission of documents in ‘sealed cover’ by Enforcement Directorate in connection with a bunch of PILs seeking probe into shell companies, mining lease of CM Hemant Soren.
During the hearing of the matter, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that a money trail has been found and said that it is a very serious offence. SG Mehta said that there are several facts which have been suppressed. SG Mehta also expressed apprehension that evidence is being destroyed. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Jharkhand Government, replied that his apprehension is that evidence is being created. Enforcement Directorate (ED), through affidavit, had earlier submitted before Jharkhand High Court that during the course of the investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the secretary of the mining department Pooja Singhal had a role in the allotment of the mining lease to respondent number seven who happens to be Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
Notably, Chief Minister Hemant Soren is respondent number 7 in the said Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by one Shiv Shankar Sharma seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against Soren for getting a stone mining lease allotted in his name, completely misusing his official position. ED has also informed that role of some companies has also emerged. These companies are spread over the jurisdiction beyond the state of Jharkhand.
The Jharkhand High Court is hearing various petitions pertaining to shell companies, the mining lease of Chief Minister Hemant Soren and the MGNREGA scam.