'ED's Apprehension Not Filmsy': Delhi High Court Dismisses Satyendar Jain's Plea Against Transfer Of Proceedings In PMLA Case
The Delhi High Court on Saturday dismissed the plea moved by Aam Aadmi Party leader Satyendar Jain challenging the transfer of proceedings against him in a money laundering case from a Special Court to another judge recently.Justice Yogesh Khanna said that the apprehension of Enforcement Directorate (ED) was not flimsy or unreasonable."The apprehension raised were not at a...
The Delhi High Court on Saturday dismissed the plea moved by Aam Aadmi Party leader Satyendar Jain challenging the transfer of proceedings against him in a money laundering case from a Special Court to another judge recently.
Justice Yogesh Khanna said that the apprehension of Enforcement Directorate (ED) was not flimsy or unreasonable.
"The apprehension raised were not at a belated stage, as the request for an independent evaluation were consistently made and rather the respondent rushed to this Court in Crl.MC. No.3401/2022 (supra), hence, all these facts were duly considered by the learned Principal District and Session's Judge, hence in view of above, it cannot be said the impugned order suffers from any illegality or need any interference," court said.
Principal District & Sessions Judge of Rouse Avenue Courts last week allowed an application moved by the probe agency seeking transfer of proceedings against Jain in the matter. The case, which was earlier being heard by Special Judge Geetanjali Goel, was directed to be heard by Special Judge Vikas Dhull.
Observing that the facts argued by the probe agency are to be seen in the backdrop of Jain's stature, Justice Khanna said that the question was not of an integrity or uprightness of the special judge or of the authorities over which Jain once had jurisdiction, but of an apprehension in the mind of a party.
"Thus, such an apprehension is to be seen from the angle of a party and not of a Judge, per Ranjit Thakur (supra). The argument to the contrary is rather not relevant. The facts show the department did not merely harbour such apprehension but rather had acted upon it by rushing to this Court in Crl.MC.No.3401/2022, hence it cannot be said to be flimsy or not reasonable," the court observed.
About Impugned Order
Appearing for the agency before trial court, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju had told the Court that having served as Minister of Health and Jails in the city, Jain could influence the doctors and jail authorities and manage to get forged documents while seeking interim bail on grounds ill health.
Raju had argued that Jain faked his illness and got himself admitted in a hospital, being administratively run by the Delhi Government.
Therefore, Raju said that the agency has an apprehension of bias against the Special Judge in deciding the matter, on the ground that despite bringing on record various documents to show that Jain was an influencing personality and documents may be forged in his favour, the Judge refused to consider the same.
Raju also submitted that even a common man would know that if a minister heading a hospital is admitted, there will be an element of bias as to how he will be examined in the said hospital.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Jain took the Court through the facts of the case by submitting that the issue arose after Jain moved a regular bail application before the Special Judge on August 17, having been denied the same once in June.
Calling the agency's application as a mala fide plea, Sibal said that no apprehension was put forth by ED before September 15 when the matter was being heard in its final stages.
Sibal also said that as per an official notification, Jain was not holding the ministerial position of any department anymore. He also said that merely because the hospital where Jain was admitted was under the adminstrative control of Delhi goverment is no ground to allege bias.
About the Case
After an ED's plea seeking transfer of the case from a Special Court, the Principal District & Sessions Judge on September 19 stayed the proceedings in the matter and posted the application for hearing on September 30.
However, after an urgent mentioning before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the Principal District & Sessions Judge was directed to take up, hear and dispose of the plea by today itself.
ED had attached properties worth Rs. 4.81 crore belonging to five companies and others in connection with an alleged disproportionate assets case against Jain and others. These assets reportedly were in the name of Akinchan Developers, Indo Metal Impex, Paryas Infosolutions, Mangalayatan Projects and J.J. Ideal Estate etc.
The money laundering case is based upon an FIR registered by the CBI against the minister and other individuals in the year 2017, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, wherein it was alleged that during the period of February 2015 to May 2017, the minister had acquired assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. The CBI had then filed a chargesheet in December 2018 against Jain.
Presently, Jain is in judicial custody in the said money laundering case.
Title: Satyendra Kumar Jain v. ED
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 926