Hemant Soren hits out at BJP hours after SC relief, says saffron camp has ‘PIL gang’ in High Court

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren Monday alleged that a PIL gang is operating in the state which makes deals before filing a plea and “unfortunately it also has the protection of the judiciary”.

Soren added the Opposition has “no face” to hold protests in the state over corruption as the Supreme Court Monday gave him a relief.

Soren’s comment came during an event in Jamshedpur during the ‘Sarkar Aapke Dwar’ programme, held hours after the Supreme Court of India pronounced two PILs — investigation into the owning of a mining lease and shell companies — in the high court as not maintainable in which Soren stood as a party.

Soren added, “The BJP has formed a PIL gang in the high court and I have come to know that the gang first tries to strike a deal before filing a PIL and if the deals are successful, they don’t file the PILs. It is also very unfortunate that sometimes they get protection from the court. The allegations against me that were filed were initially quashed by the high court but later, a PIL was filed and the plea was termed maintainable. The same case was termed non-maintainable by the Supreme Court.”

The two PILs against Soren were filed on behalf of petitioner Shiv Kumar Sharma against Hemant Soren and his family members seeking an order for an investigation. Out of these, one alleges money laundering by Soren and his family through shell companies and the other points out how Soren granted himself a mining lease while holding the mining portfolio.

Both the PILs were filed through advocate Rajeev Kumar, who is currently in judicial custody after he was arrested by the Kolkata Police on July 31 for alleged extortion. Later, the Enforcement Directorate said the FIR against Kumar was orchestrated by a Kolkata-based businessman who wanted to bribe him. They added that Kumar was also keen to accept the bribe. Further investigation in the case is on.

The chief minister further said, “The Opposition is holding protests in the villages and telling people they are scared of our policies. The Supreme Court has given us a relief. You (BJP) have hired people (to join the protests). You have a strong formula to pit people against each other and have plans to incite tension in society but today, with what face are holding the protests? Do you think Adivasis are stupid?”

He added that since the formation of his government, the BJP has been working to breakaway the ruling coalition’s MLAs, ministers and has been levelling baseless allegations against him.

In a detailed order passed by the Jharkhand high court earlier in June, it had said that its “conscience” had been shocked and that the subject matter of writ petitions involved “issue of siphoning of huge public money, having the public interest at large, therefore, this Court deems it fit and proper not to throw the writ petition on that ground”. However, the order was challenged in the Supreme Court.

Essentially, Hemant Soren’s argument was that the two petitions should be dismissed stating the petitioners, Shiv Shankar Sharma and his family, harboured “personal enmity” towards the Soren family for more than two decades and the petitions were devoid of any public interest.

Soren had earlier in a plea to the court said, “… the petitioner’s father Gautam Sharma had testified as a witness for the prosecution in a case seeking to falsely implicate my father Shibu Soren. My father’s conviction was reversed. The grudge which Sharma held against my father is being pursued by his son who is the petitioner. I say that the present petition is filed solely out of personal enmity…to settle personal scores and for oblique motives at the instance of my political rivals and not with any public interest at heart.”

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