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Jharkhand High Court Denies Bail to Pankaj Mishra in Illegal Mining Case

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Jharkhand_High_Court Law Insider

Jharkhand_High_Court Law Insider

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Published on: February 12, 2024 at 11:53 IST

In a recent development, the Jharkhand High Court has rejected the bail plea of Pankaj Mishra, an MLA representative of the state’s former Chief Minister Hemant Soren, in connection with a large-scale illegal mining case.

The Court, presided over by Justice Gautam Kumar Choudhary, emphasized the seriousness of the matter involving substantial crime proceeds generated through illegal mining activities.

Justice Choudhary noted that the petitioner, as a political representative of the former Chief Minister, holds both political and administrative connections.

The Court expressed concern about prima facie evidence suggesting Mishra’s pivotal role in the laundering of crime proceeds related to the illegal mining activity.

The trial is in its early stages, with only 10 out of 42 witnesses examined, and the court stressed the need to expedite the proceedings.

Pankaj Mishra, a close associate of Hemant Soren, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in July 2022 for his alleged involvement in an illicit mining operation worth Rs 1000 crore in the Santhal Parganas region. The ED’s investigation revealed accusations of manipulating mining tenders and contracts, leading to the seizure of Mishra’s assets.

The Court, while acknowledging the petitioner’s health condition being monitored by jail doctors, found no change in circumstances to grant regular bail. Instead, the court directed the trial court to expedite the proceedings.

Pankaj Mishra has been under scrutiny for his alleged role in illegal mining activities and embezzlement of substantial assets, with the ED accusing him of acquiring wealth unlawfully.

Despite previous bail applications being denied, Mishra filed a fresh application, arguing that similarly situated co-accused individuals had been granted bail.

The Court rejected the plea, stating that Mishra’s case differs from other co-accused and emphasized his role as the main accused in the illegal mining case.

Case Title: Pankaj Mishra Versus Union of India through Directorate of Enforcement, Government of India