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Probe by Jharkhand govt can be a farce: SG Tushar Mehta

Jharkhand Hc

STATING THAT any investigation by the Jharkhand authorities on the issues pertaining to the MGNREGA rip-off, mining lease and alleged cash laundering by means of shell firms would a be a “farce”, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Thursday advised Jharkhand High Court that this could be towards the “interest of justice”, contemplating that the “potential accused” could floor as per the proof collected and submitted in a sealed cowl within the courtroom.

The difficulty got here up when the bench of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad was listening to three PILs associated to the 2010 MGNREGA rip-off, allotment of mining lease and alleged use of shell firms for cash laundering.

While the PIL associated to the MGNREGA rip-off, by which senior IAS officer Pooja Singhal has been arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED), was filed in 2019, the PILs regarding the mining lease and shell firms, each regarding Chief Minister Hemant Soren, have been filed in 2022 and 2021, respectively.

Since Singhal was the state mining secretary, the courtroom on May 13 began listening to the 2 PILs associated to the MGNREGA rip-off in addition to the mining lease collectively.

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After Mehta, showing for the ED within the PIL associated to the alleged shell firms on May 17, submitted within the courtroom paperwork in a sealed cowl, which he mentioned have been recovered from Singhal and disclose “involvement of higher-ups”, the bench mentioned that it might hear the matter together with the MGNREGA rip-off collectively on May 19.

In the May 17 listening to, the courtroom had rejected the state’s plea on recalling earlier orders the place the ED had requested to submit “collected materials” on shell firms.

On Thursday, when the matter got here up in courtroom, Mehta mentioned: “Whenever an investigation is underway and chargesheet has not been filed…, the documents [on investigation] are confidential and cannot be made public [which] is the mandate of law. We can only share it with the court, and after going through the material gathered and [submitted] in the sealed cover, the court would be satisfied on two things: one, on the quality of evidence gathered so far is not impeachable or even alleged to be fabricated and, second, they go to the very root of enlargement of very high-level scam.”

The SG then submitted “that it would be absolutely against the interest of justice to entrust any further investigation with the state authority, considering the potential accused which might come as per the evidence collected here”.

“The state investigation would, in my understanding, be a farce,” he mentioned.

Representing the state, senior advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned he couldn’t be of any help to the courtroom as he doesn’t know what was within the sealed cowl. Sibal knowledgeable the courtroom {that a} Special Leave Petition has been filed in Supreme Court on behalf of the state, difficult the sealed cowl difficulty and the matter was more likely to be come up on Friday.

In the mining lease petition, the courtroom got here down closely on the state for leaving it upon Ranchi Deputy Commissioner Chavvi Ranjan to file an affidavit on its behalf at a time when he’s an accused in a 2015 corruption case. Attorney General Rajiv Ranjan mentioned the officer was nonetheless on trial and that he was out on bail.

After the information have been offered, Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan mentioned: “State being a prosecutor in the case [felling of trees] and the same time the state is saying he is fit to file an affidavit…He is an accused in a Prevention of Corruption Act involving the cutting down of a few trees in Koderma district. Under CrPC 164, statement was given by a witness, then DDC Koderma, stating that he (DC Ranjan) had asked not to institute a named FIR and had also pressured him to change the statement of other witness… Kis tarah ka aadmi hai ye (What kind of person he is).”

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