The Supreme Court on Friday granted a six-week-longmedical bail to former Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain while refusing to accept the Enforcement Directorate’s explanation that his drastic weight loss in jail is due to his faith in the Jain tradition of fasting.
A Vacation Bench of Justices J.K. Maheshwari and P.S. Narasimha allowed Mr. Jain to consult a private hospital of his choice.
“We think it appropriate that the citizen is having a right to take treatment of his choice, at his own expenses, in a private hospital,” the Bench noted in the order.
The medical evaluation report from the hospital has to be submitted in court on July 11, the next date of hearing.
Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, appearing for Mr. Jain, said his client was suffering from muscular atrophy and has already lost 35 kg. He was in the waiting list at number 415 for a spinal vertebrae surgery. Mr. Singhvi said his client has been in the ICU.
“He is a Jain. He is not taking food in jail. They believe in fasting and the weight comes down,” Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), countered.
Mr. Raju said the reports about Mr. Jain’s precarious medical condition needs to be taken with “more than a pinch of salt”.
He submitted that the ED wanted Mr. Jain to be independently evaluated by a panel of doctors from AIIMS. He said there were doubts about the medical reports emerging from hospitals like LNJP and GB Pant, which are under the control of the Delhi government.
“He [Mr. Jain] was the Health Minister and the Jail Minister in the Delhi government. The reports can be fudged,” Mr. Raju argued.
He claimed that Mr. Jain had got himself discharged in the past whenever the ED had insisted on a medical evaluation by AIIMS doctors.
“We will consider his plea for medical bail, but let him get himself independently evaluated by AIIMS doctors,” Mr. Raju said.
The ED said Mr. Jain was already in a hospital, all that was required was to have an AIIMs panel to examine his condition from there.
Mr. Singhvi said his client has been in jail for over a year. He had already got bail in the predicate offence in 2019. LNJP and GB Pant were the mandatory referral hospitals from Tihar Jail, where Mr. Jain is lodged.
“That is not the case when the inmate was a Delhi Health Minister,” Mr. Raju shot back.
However, granting Mr. Jain the interim bail on medical grounds, the court said there was no need to have an AIIMs team to evaluate him as of now.
The court directed Mr. Jain to not hold any press conference on “any issue” while out in bail or leave the national capital without the permission of the trial court.
On April 6, the Delhi High Court had dismissed the bail plea of Mr. Jain in a money laundering case, noting the witnesses’ claim that he was the conceptualiser, initiator and fund provider in the alleged crime.
The High Court had said the senior AAP leader was an influential person having the potential to tamper with evidence.
The ED had arrested Jain in the money laundering case based on a CBI FIR registered against him in 2017 under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
He was granted regular bail by a trial court on September 6, 2019, in the case registered by the CBI.
In 2022, the trial court had taken cognisance of the prosecution complaint (chargesheet) filed by the ED against Mr. Jain, his wife and eight others, including the four firms, in connection with the money laundering case. Eom