Former CM Hemant Soren Faces Setback as Court Denies Interim Bail in Land Scam Case

In a significant blow to former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, the Special PMLA Court in Ranchi has denied his request for interim bail in a land scam case. This decision comes at a particularly distressing time for Soren, whose uncle, Ram Soren, passed away on Saturday morning. The former CM had sought a 13-day interim bail to attend his uncle’s funeral.

Hemant Soren, a key figure in Jharkhand politics and son of JMM supremo Shibu Soren, was arrested on January 31 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on charges of money laundering connected to a land scam. He is currently held in judicial custody at the Birsa Munda Jail in Ranchi.

The allegations against Soren involve the illegal acquisition of approximately 8.86 acres of land in Ranchi. The ED contends that this land was improperly appropriated, leading to charges against Soren and his associates, including alleged frontmen Raj Kumar Pahan and Hilarias Kachchap, and Soren’s alleged associate Binod Singh. Charges were formally filed in a special PMLA court on March 30.

Soren has claimed that his arrest is politically motivated, intended to coerce him into joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and forms part of a larger conspiracy against him. His legal team filed a bail application arguing these points, which was ultimately rejected by the court.

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Further compounding Soren’s challenges, the ED was recently granted an additional week by the High Court to respond to his bail plea. The ongoing investigation is linked to several FIRs involving land scams, implicating various individuals, including state government officials. The main accused in the case is Prasad, a custodian of government records, who allegedly facilitated the illegal possession and acquisition of land, enriching himself and others, including Soren.

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