Lokpal proceedings against JMM chief Shibu Soren stayed by Delhi HC

Lokpal proceedings against JMM chief Shibu Soren stayed by Delhi HC


Justice Yashwant Varma noted that the 75-year-old politician’s objection with respect to the maintainability of the proceedings were not dealt with by the anti-corruption authority

Justice Yashwant Varma noted that the 75-year-old politician’s objection with respect to the maintainability of the proceedings were not dealt with by the anti-corruption authority

The Delhi High Court on September 12 stayed the proceedings initiated by the Lokpal against Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren on the basis of BJP MP Nishikant Dubey’s complaint of “corruption” against the former Jharkhand chief minister.

Justice Yashwant Varma noted that the 75-year-old politician’s objection with respect to the maintainability of the proceedings were not dealt with by the anti-corruption authority.

“Till the next date of listing, there shall be a stay on further proceedings pending before the Lokayukta. The (petitioner’s) challenge to assumption of jurisdiction by respondent no 1 (Lokpal of India) has neither been answered nor dealt with (by the authority). The matter requires consideration,” the judge said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Mr. Soren who assailed the complaint against him as well as the Lokpal proceedings, argued that the proceedings are bad in law and without any jurisdiction in view of the provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.

In the complaint made in August 2020, BJP leader Dubey claimed that “Shibu Soren and his family members acquired huge wealth and properties by misusing the public exchequer and have grossly indulged in corruption”.

Admitting the complaint, the Lokayukta had subsequently directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to make a preliminary enquiry into the complaint and submit its report.

In its order dated August 4, the Lokpal decided to further proceed with the matter without deciding objections with respect to the maintainability of the complaint and directed initiation of proceedings to determine whether a prima facie case existed to proceed against the petitioner.

In the petition filed through lawyers Pallavi Langar and Vaibhav Tomar, the petitioner submitted that the corruption complaint was “motivated by political vendetta” and in view of the provisions of the Lokpal Act, the authority cannot act on allegations made seven years after the alleged offence has been committed.

“The complaint is motivated by political vendetta and extraneous considerations, malafide, and designed to malign and harass the petitioner and his family members, who are members of the political party currently in power in the State of Jharkhand, and de-stabilise the state government in this process,” the plea submitted.

“The respondent No 1 under the precincts of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 could not have taken cognisance of the complaint as the complaint itself records that save and except the properties listed at serial number 1 and 2 which admittedly belong to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (a registered political party), none of the properties were acquired within seven years of the date of the complaint. The allegations made against the petitioner in the complaint are ex facie malicious, false, baseless and frivolous,” it claimed.

The petition added that these “illegalities and anomalies” vitiate the entire proceedings before the Lokpal and their continuance would be in gross abuse of the process of law and violate the fundamental rights guaranteed and protected under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

“Even as per the preliminary inquiry report submitted by the CBI enclosing a list of 82 properties, none of the properties attributed to be owned by the petitioner or any of the other individuals mentioned in the report, have been acquired within the 7-year period preceding the filing of the complaint,” it asserted.

The matter would be heard next on December 14.