Alleging usurpation of its powers by the Enforcement Directorate, the Jharkhand government has moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of summons issued by the central anti-money laundering probe agency to its police officers who had probed a criminal case of 2020 involving state minister Alamgir Alam.
A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha, upon the matter being mentioned for urgent listing by Additional Advocate General Arunabh Chowdhury, agreed to consider listing the JMM-led UPA government's petition for hearing in January against the ED's summons to Deputy Superintendent of police Pramod Kumar Mishra.
"We will list after winter vacation," the CJI told the counsel for the state government.
"The present Writ Petition arises from the usurpation of the powers of the State government by an instrumentality of the Union Government i.e. Enforcement Directorate in contravention to the constitutional limits prescribed," the state government said in its plea.
Highlighting federalism as part of the basic structure of the Constitution, it asserted the state has "exclusive jurisdiction over 'Law and Order' and Police".
"Therefore, issuance of summons to the investigation authority for explanation related to FIR has resulted in interference with the domain of the state government which is obligated under the Constitution of India to investigate a criminal case," it said while seeking the summons to be set aside.
Besides the state, DySP Mishra and Assistant Sub Inspector Saifuddin Khan of Jharkhand police are the co-petitioners in the plea against the ED.
It has sought a "writ order ... any other appropriate writ thereby declaring that the Enforcement Directorate has no jurisdiction to investigate and interfere with the essential police functions vested in the State of Jharkhand as per List II Entry 1 and 2 of the Schedule VII of the Constitution of India and declare any action taken by the Enforcement Directorate... as unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal and without jurisdiction." The ED being an investigative authority with limited jurisdiction, it cannot invade into the investigation and prosecution domain of other bodies' action within their jurisdiction, it said.
"The power to investigate a criminal case under the Indian Penal Code is exclusively vested with the State as per the constitutional scheme and the Enforcement Directorate which is working under the Union Government Ministry of Finance cannot encroach upon the exclusive domain of the State Government," the petition said.
The ED had issued summons to police officers who had given a clean chit to Congress leader and minister Alam and MLA representative Pankaj Mishra within 24 hours of a First Information Report (FIR) filed against them in the Barharwa Toll Plaza tender case.
On June 22, 2020, the FIR was registered by complainant Shambhu Nandan Kumar alleging that during the tender process for allotment of toll plaza operation rights, he had received a threat not to bid for it.
It was also alleged that the complainant was manhandled and his associates were beaten up.
Pankaj Mishra is the MLA representative of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who is embroiled in an alleged mining scam case being probed by the ED.
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