Hemant Soren, the former chief minister of Jharkhand, suffered a severe blow when the Supreme Court rejected his request on Friday to have the arrest warrant and summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) quashed.

Along with Kapil Sibal and AM Singhvi, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, MM Sundresh, and Bela Trivedi demanded that Soren petition the Jharkhand High Court for bail.

“It has been SC’s consistent practice that such petitions must be moved before the HC, which is also a constitutional court and open to one and all,” Justice Khanna stated.

The Supreme Court declared that if it allows someone to appear before the SC alone in these situations, it must allow everyone to do the same.

The three-judge panel, presided over by Justice Khanna, expressed its opinion that anyone who seeks the SC directly rather than the HC should not be granted bail or have their arrest petition quashed.

“It will send a very wrong signal,” the bench declared, dismissing Sibal’s argument that the SC had discretion over the subject.

In a case involving money laundering, unlawful property ownership, and possible ties to the “land mafia,” Soren was taken into custody on January 31.

Hemant Soren claimed in his appeal before the Supreme Court that the ED had arrested him as a part of a “well-orchestrated conspiracy” by the Center to influence the Lok Sabha polls. He pleaded with the SC to rule that his arrest was arbitrary, unjustified, and a breach of his basic rights.