Lokpal of India Initiates Inquiry Into Shibu Soren's Alleged Wealth Accumulation Exceeding His Income, Challenged in Delhi HC.
On Monday, the Delhi High Court reserved its judgment in the disproportionate assets case against Shibu Soren, the former Chief Minister of Jharkhand and a Rajya Sabha MP. This case was investigated by the Lokpal of India. After hearing arguments from both sides, the court decided to reserve its decision. The Lokpal of India had initiated an inquiry into the alleged accumulation of assets well beyond Shibu Soren’s income, which led to Soren challenging the inquiry in the Delhi High Court.
During Monday’s hearing, the court issued a stay on the proceedings before the Lokpal in the disproportionate assets case against Shibu Soren. It was reported that Soren had challenged the preliminary investigation proceedings and the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) order on the basis of jurisdiction.
Kapil Sibal represented Shibu Soren, while the Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, argued on behalf of the Lokpal before Justice Subramaniam Prasad. Advocate Pragya Singh Baghel also represented Shibu Soren.
In his petition, Shibu Soren had claimed that the corruption complaint against him was politically motivated and, according to the provisions of the Lokpal Act, the authority cannot act on allegations made seven years after the alleged offense occurred.
The investigation into the disproportionate assets case was initiated based on a complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Parliamentarian Nishikant Dubey. He alleged that Shibu Soren and his family had acquired numerous properties and amassed disproportionate assets, misusing government funds. The complaint was filed before the Lokpal in August 2020, leading the Lokpal to direct the CBI to register and launch an investigation into the matter on September 15, 2020.
After conducting a thorough investigation, the CBI submitted a report to the Lokpal in March 2021 and filed a final preliminary inquiry report with the Lokpal on June 29, 2022. The CBI reportedly stated that Soren and his family members had acquired multiple undisclosed properties that had not been declared by them.