Delhi court reserves order on Satyendar Jain's bail plea
A Delhi court on Tuesday reserved its decision on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi minister Satyendar Jain's bail application in an alleged money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The order will be issued by the court on Saturday. On Monday, the court extended Jain's judicial custody by another 14 days. Jain was arrested by the ED last month.
Why does this story matter?
This comes as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the AAP are embroiled in a political feud over the Delhi minister's arrest. The AAP has been attacking the BJP at the Centre for missing the ED and framing Jain for political reasons. Meanwhile, last Monday, the ED recovered over Rs. 2 crore in cash and jewelry from Jain's aides.
What happened in court today?
Jain's bail hearing was held on Tuesday before Special CBI Judge Geetanjali Goel. While Jain was represented by senior advocate N Hariharan, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju appeared for the ED. Hariharan argued, in support of Jain's bail, that the AAP leader doesn't pose a flight risk and that the majority of the evidence against him is documental and therefore cannot be tampered with.
Arguments for and against the bail
Jain's counsel also claimed that no witnesses felt threatened or made any allegations of threats against him. He also sought Jain's bail on health grounds, informing the court that he suffers from sleep apnea. However, Raju argued against the bail, claiming that the probe into the case is still underway and granting him bail would impede the investigation since he is also a minister.
What about the viral image of Jain with bruised face?
Meanwhile, a viral photo of Jain allegedly with injuries and a bruised face, taken while reportedly being taken to a hospital from the ED custody, has triggered speculations of injury. Sharing the image on Twitter, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh called it a "black mark" on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as the ED. "The country will never forgive you," Singh stated.
Jain has been in custody since May 30
To recall, the ED arrested Jain on May 30 under the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Last week, the ED sought to extend his custody to interrogate him further, and subsequently, it was extended till Monday (June 13). On Monday, his judicial custody was once again extended by the Delhi court by 14 days.
Cash and jewelry recovered in ED raids
Meanwhile, last Monday, the ED conducted raids at the residences of Jain and his associates as a "follow-up" to the aforementioned case. The ED recovered over Rs. 2 crore in cash and jewelry during these raids. Reportedly, Rs. 2.23 crore was recovered from Ram Prakash Jeweller and Rs. 41.5 lakh—including Rs. 20 lakh in cash and 133 gold coins—were recovered from one Vaibhav Jain.
Jain is alleged to have laundered crores of rupees
Jain and his family are alleged to have formed four fake companies to launder Rs. 11.78 crore in 2011-12 and Rs. 4.63 crore in 2015-16. But the AAP has claimed that a fake case has been running against Jain for eight years.
Jain reportedly bought several shell companies
Jain had allegedly purchased or floated several shell companies in Delhi and also laundered black money worth Rs. 16.39 crore via 54 shell companies of three Kolkata-based hawala operators. Akinchan Developers Private Limited, Indo Metal Impex Private Limited, Paryas Infosolutions Private Limited, Manglayatan Projects Private Limited, and JJ Ideal Estate Private Limited are among some companies in which Jain allegedly owned shares.
Here's what ED said earlier about the case
In April, the ED stated, "During 2015-16...companies beneficially owned and controlled by [Jain] received accommodation entries to the tune of Rs. 4.81 crore from shell companies against cash transferred to Kolkata-based entry operators through hawala route." "These amounts were utilized for direct purchase of land or for the repayment of loan taken for purchase of agricultural land in and around Delhi (sic)," it added.
Kejriwal terms case against Jain 'completely fraud'
On the other hand, Delhi CM and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal earlier called the case against Jain "completely fraud." "I have personally studied this case, it is completely fraud. We neither tolerate corruption nor we do corruption. We have a very honest government. He has been targeted because of political reasons," Kejriwal had said. However, he said he had complete faith in the judiciary.
Arrest all AAP leaders: Delhi CM to PM Modi
"I would request [PM Modi] to put us all together in jail rather than picking us one by one, and use all central agencies to probe us. Ask all your agencies to take out investigations against all of us at once," CM Kejriwal further stated.