The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the bail petition of Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi government minister Satyendar Jain, who was arrested in a money laundering case, to September 25.
The Bench of Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Bela M. Trivedi deferred the hearing after Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, appearing for the respondents, sought an adjournment.
The law officer requested the top court of the country to keep the matter by consent for hearing on September 25, saying that interim relief may be extended till that time.
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Jain, readily agreed to this suggestion.
The Bench then directed the matter to be re-listed for hearing on September 25.
The Apex Court today also granted interim bail of four weeks to co-accused in the case, Ankush Jain. He was directed to be released on interim bail for four weeks on medical grounds, after the Bench was apprised that his child had to undergo an urgent colon surgery.
Last month, the top court of the country had granted interim bail of four weeks to another co-accused in the case, Vaibhav Jain, on grounds of his mother’s impending spinal cord operation.
ED had arrested Jain on May 30 last year 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) had 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.