Jharkhand CM Soren moves SC against ED summons, says Centre using agency to target opposition
Calling the summons prima facie “illegal, null and void”, Soren has argued that ED's summon exposes the probe agency’s intent of misusing its power to target prominent opposition leaders.
NEW DELHI: Centre is using Enforcement Directorate (ED) to target opposition leaders who are not towing lines of the Government, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has told Supreme Court in his plea seeking to stay and quash probe agency’s September 11 summons issued against him in a money laundering case. Soren has been summoned to appear before ED's Assistant Director, Deovrat Jha on September 23.
Calling the summons prima facie “illegal, null and void”, the Jharkhand CM in his plea has argued that ED's summon exposes the probe agency’s intent of misusing its power conferred under the PMLA to target prominent opposition leaders including him at Centre’s instance which is seeking to destabilize constitutionally elected Government in Jharkhand.
“The Central Government is using the Enforcement Directorate to target opposition leaders who are not towing the lines of the Government and this targeting has picked up pace with the date of General Elections fast approaching and the formation of the opposition alliance 'INDIA' against the ruling National Democratic Alliance.
The Respondent No. 2, (ED) therefore, needs to be restrained by this Hon'ble Court and its functioning be monitored to ensure that such brazen misuse of the investigating machinery is not permitted,” said the petition. The application has been filed on the eve of SC’s hearing in his plea also challenging the legality of sections 50 and 63 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and summons dated August 7 and 18 issued by ED. Reminding the court of its constitutional mandate to quash the Union’s act which is vitiated by malice and designed to interfere with the franchise exercised by the people of Jharkhand, the minister has also stated in his plea that the manner in which ED has been functioning at centre’s behest to hound country’s prominent opposition leaders has reduced it into a political tool weaponising it to silence the opposition. “The repeated summon been issued by Respondent No.2 (ED) to the Petitioner (Hemant Soren) is politically motivated to browbeat, humiliate and intimidate the Petitioner, who is a holder of a constitutional office. The said action apart from being derogatory, unwarranted and illegal, has the effect of undermining the high office of the Chief Minister of the State,” said the petition. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)