6 April 2023 1:45 PM GMT
Denying bail to Satyendar Jain in the money laundering case, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said that witness statements show that the Aam Aadmi Party leader is the “conceptualizer, visualizer and executor” of the entire operation. The court also said he is an influential person having the potential to tamper with evidence.In the order running into 46 pages, Justice Dinesh...
Denying bail to Satyendar Jain in the money laundering case, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said that witness statements show that the Aam Aadmi Party leader is the “conceptualizer, visualizer and executor” of the entire operation. The court also said he is an influential person having the potential to tamper with evidence.
In the order running into 46 pages, Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma observed that Satyendar Jain, Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain failed to meet the twin conditions provided under section 45 of PMLA and the conditions laid down under section 439 of Cr.P.C. and thus, are not entitled for bail.
The AAP leader has been in custody since May 30 last year. His bail application was dismissed by the trial court on November 17, 2022. Notice on his bail plea was issued by High Court in December last year. Order was reserved on the bail pleas on March 22.
While denying them relief, the court said that there is no illegality or perversity in the order passed by special judge denying bail to the three accused persons.
The court also observed that all the three entities namely M/s Akinchan Developer Pvt. Ltd., M/s Mangalayatan Projects Pvt. Ltd. and M/s Prayas Infosolution Pvt. Ltd. are controlled and managed by Satyendar Jain and that the “constant changing pattern” of shareholding clearly indicates that he was indirectly controlling the affairs of the companies.
“The evidence on record though speaks in volumes but has not been discussed or examined in detail so as to not cause prejudice to the petitioner,” the court said.
It also rejected Jain’s plea that he was not found in physical possession of any property observing that the physical possession of proceeds of crime is not necessary in the offence of money laundering.
“Similarly, the fact that shares so acquired were transferred back to Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain will also make no difference as it may again be done to conceal the proceeds of crime or projected as a untainted money. The plea that the disproportionate assets was only Rs.1.47 crore and PMLA has filed the complaint for Rs.4.81 crores as proceeds of crime is not relevant as at this stage as the court has only to see whether the offence has been committed and whether the accused persons meet the twin conditions,” the court said.
The court observed that generally in cases of criminal conspiracy, it is herculean task to find the direct evidence of such offence.
"In particular, where there is transaction of cash, I consider that it is a near impossible to get the direct evidence. In such cases, the court has to resort back to see the past trend and attendant circumstances of the case. This is the case where the money has been round tripped through shell companies. As submitted, it is not disputed that Rs. 4.81 Crores was received in these four companies M/s Akinchan Developers Pvt. Ltd., M/s Prayas Infosolution Pvt. Ltd., M/s Mangalayatan Projects Pvt. Ltd. and M/s J.J.Ideal Estate Pvt. Ltd. It is also not disputed that these transactions have been carried out through Kolkata based entry operators. Accused Satyendar Kumar Jain in his statement under Section 50 of PMLA abandoned his responsibilities by saying that he has nothing to do with the same. Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain have stated that it was their money. "
Furthermore, Justice Sharma noted that the CBI has filed the case of disproportionate assets against Jain and other persons, cognizance of which has already been taken.
“Thus, the competent court is seized of the matter regarding the disproportionate assets and present court cannot go into the question of validity of institution of such proceedings,” it said.
It also said that the facts show that during the check period, certain disproportionate assets were amassed and were round-tripped into the company through entry operators.
“There is a long association amongst the petitioners evidencing the trend of getting entries through the same operators. The court has to see the prima facie case at this stage and to see whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that accused persons have not committed an offence and they are not likely to commit such offence. In view of the matter on record, the entire amount has rightly been attributed to the petitioners,” the court said.
About the Case
ED had last year attached properties worth Rs. 4.81 crore belonging to five companies and others in the money laundering 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.
In 2017, the CBI had accused Jain and others of laundering money to the tune of Rs 11.78 crore during 2010-2012 and Rs 4.63 crores during 2015-16, when he had become a minister in Delhi government, through three companies - Paryas Infosolution, Indo Metalimpex, Akinchan Developers and Mangalayatan Projects.
Jain allegedly had given money to some Kolkata based entry operators of different shell companies for accommodation entries, through his associates. The entry operators had then allegedly re-routed the money in the form of investment through shares in Jain-linked companies after "layering them through shell companies".
The ED case, which is based on the CBI FIR, alleges tha Jain signed conveyance deeds for purchase of agriculture lands by Prayas Infosolutions in 2011 and 2012. The central agency has further alleged that the land was later transferred to family members of Jain's associates who denied knowledge about the transfers.
Title: SATYENDAR KUMAR JAIN v. DIRECTORATE OF ENFORCEMENT
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 289
Click Here To Download Judgment