Delhi HC Dismisses Satyendra Jain’s Plea Challenging the Transfer of Money Laundering Case

Satyendra Jain LawInsider

Bhuvana Marni

Published on: October 3, 2022 at 18:30 IST

The Delhi High Court on Saturday dismissed the plea of Delhi Minister Satyendra Jain challenging the trial court’s order transferring his money laundering case to another judge.

Justice Yogesh Khanna said that the apprehension of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was not flimsy or unreasonable.

“The apprehension raised were not at a belated stage, as the request for an independent evaluation were consistently made and rather the respondent rushed to this Court in Crl.MC. No.3401/2022 (supra).”

“Hence, all these facts were duly considered by the learned Principal District and Session’s Judge, hence in view of above, it cannot be said the impugned order suffers from any illegality or need any interference,” court said.

The district judge, in transferring the case, had taken into account all of these factors, according to the court, thus there is no illegality and no need for involvement.

The ED was satisfied with how the medical staff and jail staff were handled because the accused previously served as the minister-in-charge of the health and jail departments for the Delhi government.

In an appeal to the Delhi High Court, Satyendra Jain contested the Rouse Avenue Court’s chief district and session court’s decision to grant the ED’s request to have his case transferred to a different judge.

It was ordered that Special Judge Vikas Dhull hear the case, which had previously been assigned to Special Judge Geetanjali Goel.

Justice Khanna said that the facts raised by the investigation agency must be seen against the backdrop of Jain’s prominence and stated that the issue wasn’t one of the special judge’s or the authority over which Jain had presided honesty or uprightness, but rather of a party’s apprehension.

“Thus, such apprehension is to be seen from the angle of a party and not of a Judge, per Ranjit Thakur (supra). The argument to the contrary is rather not relevant.”

“The facts show the department did not merely harbour such apprehension but rather had acted upon it by rushing to this Court in Crl.MC.No.3401/2022, hence it cannot be said to be flimsy or not reasonable,”  the court observed.

When appearing on behalf of the agency before the trial court, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju informed the court that Jain could influence the doctors and jail authorities and manage to get forged documents while seeking interim bail on the grounds of ill health because he had served as the city’s Minister of Health and Jail. He had alleged that Jain lied about being unwell to get admission to a hospital under the Delhi Government’s control.

The petitioner claimed that the agency was suspicious of the Special Judge’s prejudice because, after submitting several papers to establish Jain’s influence and the possibility that some of the documents were fabricated in his favour, the Judge failed to take them into account.

He further argued that even the average person would understand that if a minister in charge of a hospital is admitted, the Special Judge will be biased in how he decides the case because, despite Raju submitting numerous documents demonstrating Jain’s influence and the possibility that documents may have been forged in his favour, the Judge refused to take these into account.

Raju also argued that even the common person would be aware that there would be some prejudice in the way a minister in charge of a hospital would be evaluated if he were hospitalized.

On the other side, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who was representing Jain, walked the Court through the facts of the case by arguing that the problem emerged after Jain made a regular bail application before the Special Judge on August 17 after being refused the same in June.

When the issue was being considered in its final stages on September 15, Sibal referred to the agency’s appeal as a “mala fide plea” and claimed that no apprehension had been made by ED before that day.

Jain was no longer serving in any department’s ministerial capacity, according to an official statement, Sibal added.

He also said that merely because the hospital where Jain was admitted was under the administrative control of the Delhi government is no ground to allege bias.

The Principal District & Sessions Judge on September 19 delayed the proceedings in the case following an ED’s appeal for transfer of the case from a Special Court and scheduled the motion for hearing on September 30.

However, the Principal District & Sessions Judge was instructed to take up, hear, and decide the petition by today only after it was urgently mentioned before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

In connection with an alleged disproportionate assets investigation against Jain and others, the ED had attached properties totaling Rs. 4.81 crores that belonged to five corporations and other parties.

According to reports, these assets were registered in the names of companies including Akinchan Developers, Indo Metal Impex, Paryas Infosolutions, Mangalayatan Projects, and J.J. Ideal Estate, among others.

The money laundering case is based on a FIR filed by the CBI in 2017 under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the minister and other people, in which it was claimed that the minister had accumulated assets between February 2015 and May 2017 that were out of proportion to his known sources of income.

After that, Jain was charged by the CBI in December 2018.

Jain is now in judicial detention in connection with the said money laundering case.

Title: Satyendra Kumar Jain vs. ED

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