Thursday, February 29, 2024

Supreme Court extends interim bail of Satyendar Jain till September 1 in money laundering case

The Supreme Court on Friday extended till September 1, the interim bail granted to former Delhi health Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Satyendar Jain on medical grounds. 

The Bench of Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice M.M. Sundresh passed the order on Jain’s petition challenging Delhi High Court order, which denied him bail in the case last year.

“Though the ASG opposes grant of extension of interim bail by contending that medical advice cited is not sufficient, medical bail granted earlier stands extended till September 1.” the Court said in its order.Jain’s main bail application will be heard on 1st September.

Appearing for Jain, Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi submitted that the AAP leader was undergoing rehabilitation after a crucial spinal operation.

Strongly opposing the extension of interim bail, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S.V. Raju urged the Apex Court to ask Jain to surrender and fix the matter. He further said that the former Delhi cabinet Minister should be treated like an ordinary prisoner.

Noting that this was not a fit case for medical bail, the ASG contended that extension of even one day was not justified in the case. 

He further insisted that the application for independent examination by AIIMS be considered.

ASG Raju submitted that Jain wanted a swimming pool in jail. He said if it was part of the accused’s physical therapy, then he would be taken to a swimming pool. 

In a lighter vein, Justice Sundresh responded that if Jain took physiotherapy sessions in jail, then the respondent would click his photographs and publish them. 

The ASG responded that co-accused in the case were adopting this technique.

Earlier on May 26, the Supreme Court had granted interim bail for six weeks to former Delhi Health Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Satyendar Jain, who was arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). 

The Vacation Bench of Justice J.K. Maheshwari and Justice P.S. Narasimha granted interim bail on medical grounds to Jain to get treated in a private hospital of his choice. The interim bail was extended by the Apex Court twice. First on July 10 and then on July 24. 

Jain was arrested on May 30 last year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

ED had challenged the bail petition of Jain in the High Court on the grounds that charges of money laundering against him in the case were ‘crystal clear’.

ASG Raju had contended on February 15 that Jain was in the ‘thick of these things’.

He submitted that special treatment was given to the former Minister. The Prison authorities in Tihar jail were testimony to the fact that ED’s apprehension throughout was correct.

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

Jain still continued to be a sitting minister in the Government of NCT Delhi and thus, was intimidating the witnesses through his incarceration, he added.

As per the ED Counsel, this was not a baseless allegation as it was corroborated with the facts borne out from the CCTV footage of Tihar jail premises submitted by ED before the PMLA Special Judge.

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.

ED had submitted that 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.

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.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a case against Jain 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.


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