Monday, February 26, 2024

Supreme Court adjourns hearing on bail plea of Satyendar Jain, interim relief to continue

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The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned hearing on the bail petition of former Delhi Cabinet Minister Satyendar Jain, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for his alleged involvement in a money laundering case.

The Bench of Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma further extended the interim bail granted to Jain on medical grounds till the next date of hearing.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Jain, appealed to the Court for adjournment on the grounds that presiding judge in the matter, Justice AS Bopanna, was not present today owing to illness.

Singhvi appealed to the Apex Court to adjourn the matter till January, saying that the matter has been heard in part at length by the Bench constituted by the Chief Justice of India.

The Apex Court said that an interim order could not continue for that long, adding that it would have to look into the matter.

Singhvi argued that if the Bench hearing the matter was not sitting, the interim order could not be touched.

However, the Bench said it would have to
check whether the case has to be heard by the same court or not.

The Supreme Court suggested to list the matter tomorrow.

However, Singhvi sought adjournment till next week.

He reiterated that the Bench directed by the CJI had heard the case for two and a half hours, and the same was marked by the Court’s judicial order, which said ‘heard in part’.

The Senior Advocate again pressed for listing the matter on January 11 or any date in that month.

Earlier on November 24, the Apex Court on had adjourned till December 4, hearing on the bail application of Aam Aadmi Party the (AAP) leader.

The Bench of Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Bela M. Trived had further extended the interim bail granted to co-accused in the case, Ankush and Vaibhav Jain, till December 4.

The hearing was adjourned as Justice Trivedi was sitting in a two-judge combination with Justice Satish Chandra Sharma.

After deliberating with Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for Jain and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S.V. Raju, representing the ED, the Apex Court deferred hearing till Monday.

Jain had moved the Apex Court by way of a special leave petition after the Delhi High Court denied him bail in April this year.

ED had arrested Jain on May 30, 2022 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

As per the national agency, during the period between 2015 and 2016, when Jain was a public servant, he owned companies ‘beneficially owned and controlled by him,’ which received accommodation entries amounting to Rs 4.81 crore from shell companies against the cash transferred to Kolkata-based entry operators through a hawala route.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also registered a case against the former Delhi Cabinet Minister under Sections 13(2) (criminal misconduct by public servant) read with 13(e) (disproportionate assets) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

CBI alleged that Jain had acquired movable properties in the name of various persons between 2015 and 2017, which he could not satisfactorily account for.

Earlier, challenging Jain’s bail petition before various courts, ED had alleged that charges of money laundering against the AAP leader in the case were ‘crystal clear’. It had contended on February 15 that Jain was in the ‘thick of these things’.

As per the counsel for ED, special treatment was given to the former Minister in Tihar Jail, where he was earlier lodged.

The national agency further contended that Prison authorities in Tihar Central prison were testimony to the fact that ED’s apprehension throughout was correct.

It said being a former minister of Prisons and Health, Jain was receiving favourable treatment from Jail officials, including the prison doctors.

The national agency further raised apprehensions of Jain attempting to influence witnesses, as was borne out from the video footage, where he could be seen interacting with the co-accused on a regular basis.

The Counsel added that there was a high likelihood that the applicant once released, might seek to frustrate the proceedings under the Act.

The Counsel appearing for Jain before the High Court had submitted that no case was made out against him and that there was no requirement to continue his incarceration after the filing of the charge sheet. He further said that the former Minister had fully cooperated in the investigation.

On November 17 last year, Special CBI Judge Vikas Dhull at Rouse Avenue Court had dismissed the bail petition of Jain on the grounds that he hid the proceeds of crime.

The trial court had further denied bail to co-accused Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain, observing that the accused consciously assisted Jain in concealing the proceeds of crime and therefore, were guilty under the PMLA.

Appearing for Jain before the trial court, Senior Advocate N. Hariharan had contended that Jain’s only fault was that he became a Minister and joined public life. Apart from this, there was nothing in the case, which could be attributed to the AAP leader.

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