Satyendar Jain denied bail; court says can’t rule out risk of influencing witnesses

 Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, arrested in connection with a money laundering case, being taken to a court, in New Delhi. File photo

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, arrested in connection with a money laundering case, being taken to a court, in New Delhi. File photo | Photo Credit: PTI

A special court here on Saturday denied bail to Delhi minister Satyendar Jain in the money-laundering case, noting that while Mr. Jain is not a flight risk, the possibility of him influencing witnesses or tampering with evidence cannot be ruled out at this stage. 

Special CBI judge Geetanjali Goel of the Rouse Avenue court complex, while dismissing Mr. Jain’s bail application, said, “Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and the nature of allegations against the accused and that the application for bail does not pass muster even on the triple test for the grant of bail at this stage, the application is dismissed [for] being without merits.”

Mr. Jain’s counsel, senior advocate N Hariharan, had argued that the Minister met the “triple test” for bail, which entails that he be available for the investigation and that there is no chance of him tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses. 

Additional Solicitor-General SV Raju, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), submitted the statements of two witnesses linked to the alleged laundering transactions. Mr. Raju said the witnesses were afraid of having their statements confronted with Mr. Jain because they apprehended a threat to their lives. 

As for the possibility of influencing witnesses, the court said, “... However, looking to the fact that the matter is still at the stage of investigation and the accused enjoys an influential position, it cannot be ruled out that the accused could influence the witnesses.”

And as for the possibility of tampering with evidence, the court ruled, “It was stated that additional documents recovered during the search operations were yet to be examined and analyzed and even the complaint is yet to be filed, so the possibility of tampering with evidence cannot be ruled out.”

Medical grounds

Earlier, Mr. Jain’s counsel had submitted that the Minister suffered from sleep apnoea, a “fatal condition” for which he used a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, which needed an uninterrupted power supply and this was not possible inside the jail.

The court dismissed the ground of Mr. Jain’s medical condition, noting that “no specific ground” was mentioned in the bail application regarding the medical condition and no medical documents had been produced to show the medical history of Mr. Jain, except the medical examination papers which were produced by the ED at the time of remand. It added, “Only on the ground that the accused suffers from sleep apnea, he cannot be enlarged on bail, by virtue of the first proviso to Section 45(1) of PMLA.”

Allegations by ED

The ED has alleged that accommodation entries worth ₹4.81 crore were made into four companies in Delhi, allegedly owned by Mr. Jain, in the check period between 2015 and 2017.

While opposing his bail plea, the probe agency had also alleged that they had traced similar entries worth a total of ₹17 crore, which needed to be probed. The agency said these entries were made by shell companies in Kolkata and that they had recorded statements of the people who had allegedly made the transactions in exchange for a commission, on the instructions of Mr. Jain.

Mr. Jain had argued that attributing ownership and control of the four companies in question to him was not reasonable as he and his family members held minority shares in them. He further said that he had resigned from his position in these companies in 2013 when he decided to run for public office. The ED had alleged that this was a sham resignation. 

Mr. Jain was arrested by the ED on May 30 in the case. He was in ED’s custody till June 13, following which he was remanded to judicial custody. 

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 7:52:37 am |