West Bengal (Kolkata)

Lawyer in PILs against CM Soren arrested in Kolkata

In two PILs relating to a mining lease against Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, an advocate and advocate Rajeev Kumar, representing fake companies and money laundering, was on Sunday booked by the Kolkata Police for defrauding a total of Rs 50 lakh. was arrested.

A senior Kolkata Police official said, “We have arrested a Ranchi-based lawyer, Rajiv Kumar.”

Sources said the lawyer was arrested from a mall in central Kolkata following inputs from the police in Jharkhand, where “he faces several cases”.

Kumar was arrested by Kolkata Police’s anti-rowdy squad and officers from the Hare Street station, the sources said, adding that “some money” was also seized from him. The police are also looking for possible accomplices of Kumar, they said.

Known as “PIL man” in Jharkhand, Kumar had recently filed three PILs on behalf of a petitioner, Shiv Shankar Sharma. Two of the PILs were directed at Chief Minister Soren. One of them accused Soren of granting himself a mining lease while holding the Mining portfolio. The other stated that Soren was allegedly linked to shell companies and money laundering – these are currently being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Kumar is also a lawyer in a PIL, alleging financial irregularities in MGNREGA, which led the ED to arrest Jharkhand Mining Secretary Pooja Singhal and Soren’s aide Pankaj Mishra.

In the mining PIL filed in February this year, Kumar had filed an additional petition seeking protection, claiming that he had been threatened. However, Advocate General Rajeev Ranjan had submitted that the petition was “frivolous” and was filed to “condemn” the Chief Minister.

During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Jharkhand, argued the validity of the PIL as the petitioner was a witness in a case against Shiv Shankar Sharma’s father Hemant Soren’s father and former Chief Minister Shibu Soren. Not disclosed in the PIL, Hemant Soren’s lawyer Mukul Rohatgi had called the PIL “malicious”.

The mining was similar to another petition filed by the BJP, submitted by Heman Soren in response to the PIL, and “both are similar and are the handiwork of the same person”.

Kumar had also placed a PIL with former BJP chief minister Raghubar Das, who was then a minister, as a party respondent in the so-called ‘Meinhardt scam’, filed in connection with irregularities in a consultancy contract. However, the PIL has not moved forward.

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