Minister Satyendar Jain was denied bail by a Delhi court on Thursday in connection with the money laundering case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. Vaibhav and Ankush Jain, who were co-accused in the case, were also denied bail by special judge Vikas Dhull.
Dhull had postponed passing the order on Wednesday, stating that although Jain’s order was ready, the orders for the other two defendants had not yet been completed.
Jain is currently being held in the Tihar Jail after being taken into custody on May 30 in accordance with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) provisions.
The ED filed a request in September to have the case moved from the court of special judge Geetanjali Goel to a new judge, alleging bias, as the bail hearing for all the accused was nearing its conclusion.
The agency had said the minister had faked his illness by getting a report from the Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, and despite knowing that there is something fishy, the trial court judge did not go to check the veracity of the medical certificate.
On September 23, the principal and sessions judge Vinay Kumar Gupta allowed ED’s application that had stated “a grave likelihood and a reason to believe that the issues (in the case) have been premeditated”.
On October 1, the Delhi High Court rejected the plea, stating that the ED’s suspicion of bias by a trial court judge is reasonable and not based on flimsy ground, despite the fact that Jain and the other accused challenged the transfer of the case to a new judge hours within it was pronounced.
The court had said the apprehension of bias by the trial court judge was not raised at a belated stage, “as the requests for an independent evaluation were consistently made”. It further said the apprehension has to be seen from the point of view of the party and not from the judge’s angle.
Jain appealed the high court’s decision to the Supreme Court, but he later withdrew the case and started the bail hearing at the trial court in front of Special Judge Vikas Dhull.
Jain requested bail and claimed that since the agency had already submitted the prosecution charge in the matter, there was no need in holding him in detention any longer.
However, the ED had argued that the accused was receiving special treatment in custody because he was abusing his position as a minister.
After hearing from the accused, including Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain, as well as the ED, the judge had put the order on hold.
Based on a 2017 CBI FIR filed against the minister in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) administration, the case was brought. The ED has charged him with using four allegedly connected companies, where he held shares while accumulating disproportionate wealth, to launder money.
According to ED, Jain transferred money to Kolkata through the hawala channel and got it back from dummy companies in the form of accommodation entries, even though he could not show the source of the money received.
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