BREAKING| Supreme Court Grants Interim Bail To AAP Leader Satyender Jain On Medical Grounds For 6 Weeks In Money Laundering Case
26 May 2023 6:08 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail on medical grounds to Aam Aadmi Party leader and former cabinet minister in Delhi government Satyendar Jain who has been under custody since May 2022 as an undertrial in a money laundering case. The order was passed by a vacation bench comprising Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice PS Narasimha.
The bench granted interim bail for six weeks for Jain to get treated in a private hospital of his choice. The bail will be subject to conditions imposed by the trial court. The bench added that Jain shall not go to the media "to make any statement on any issue" and that he shall not attempt to influence the witnesses.
The bench did not accept the Enforcement Directorate's objection that Jain should be independently evaluated by the AIIMS Delhi. It said that this plea can be considered at a later stage. The matter will be considered next on July 11, when the bench will consider Jain's latest medical reports.
Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Jain, submitted that he is seeking bail only on medical grounds and not on merits at present. "I have very strong grounds which I'm not touching today. I'm seeking on medical grounds today. Rest you can examine later", he said at the outset.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, submitted that Jain should be examined by a body of experts from AIIMS or RML Delhi. The ASG raised doubts about the medical certificates from the Lok Nayak Hospital Delhi, as Jain was previously the Health Minister of Delhi. "He was the Health Minister, these hospitals were under him. The medical records can be fudged. Let him be examined by a panel of doctors from AIIMS or Delhi. If he report is in his favour, I will concede.", ASG said.
The bench asked Raju why he was not expressing confidence in the medical records. In response, Raju said that the previous conduct of Jain raised doubts. Earlier, when the ED argued that he should be examined by AIIMS, he withdrew the application for medical bail. "He may have a genuine case, I will concede in that case. But history is that he feigns illness, gets fake reports, the moment we want independent evaluation- he withdraws...", Raju said. He added that till May 13, he was fit and on the next day, he suddenly developed illness.
Singhvi said that LNJP hospital is the mandatory referral hospital for Tihar jail. "The man has developed muscular atrophy. He has become a skeleton. Has lost 35 kgs".
"As far as weight is considered, he is a Jain and I am told that he is not taking food in jail and he is fasting", Raju replied while reiterating the demand that there should be independent evaluation. The Union's law officer further argued that there is no prejudice caused to him by an order for AIIMS examination as Jain is anyway in a hospital.
Yesterday, he was reportedly hospitalised and later shifted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after he collapsed in the bathroom of Tihar Jail, where he has been detained on money laundering charges.
In 2017, the Central Bureau of Investigation 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 the Delhi government. It was alleged that the money laundering exercise was carried out 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 case lodged by the Directorate of Enforcement is based on the CBI complaint and alleges that Jain signed conveyance deeds for the purchase of agricultural 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.
Last year, the ED year attached properties worth Rs. 4.81 crores 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. The Aam Aadmi Party leader has been in custody in connection with the money laundering case since May 30, 2022.
In November of last year, the bail application of the former cabinet minister was dismissed by a trial court, which said that it had prima facie come on record that Jain was ‘actually involved’ in concealing the proceeds of crime by giving cash to the Kolkata-based entry operators and thereafter, bringing the cash into three companies against the sale of shares to show that income of these three companies was untainted.
Subsequently, his bail was denied by the Delhi High Court as well last month, on the ground that he was an influential person and had the potential of tampering with evidence. As such, the twin conditions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 were held to not be satisfied. Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma also denied bail to co-accused Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain.
Case Title: Satyendar Kumar Jain v. Directorate of Enforcement | Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 6561 of 2023
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