The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Kumar Jain on Monday in connection with a money laundering case, prompting the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to allege that the action was taken as he was made in-charge of Himachal Pradesh where Assembly polls are due later this year.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said Mr. Jain was arrested in an “eight-year-old fake case”. He had appeared before the ED seven times in the same case, but was never arrested earlier. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a case against him, but he was given a clean chit, said Mr. Singh.
“BJP is losing badly in Himachal,” senior party leader Manish Sisodia tweeted in Hindi. “That is why Satyendar Jain has been arrested today so that he cannot go to Himachal. He will be released in a few days as the case is completely fake.”
Last month, the ED had attached properties worth ₹4.81 crore belonging to five companies and others in connection with the alleged disproportionate assets case against Mr. Jain and others. The assets were in the name of Akinchan Developers, Indo Metalimpex, Paryas Infosolutions, Mangalayatan Projects and J.J. Ideal Estate, Swati Jain, Sushila Jain and Indu Jain.
The money laundering probe is based on the First Information Report (FIR) registered by the CBI against Mr. Jain and others in August 2017, alleging that assets disproportionate to their known sources of income were acquired during 2015-17 when Mr. Jain was a Delhi Minister.
“During the period 2015-16, when Satyendar Kumar Jain was a public servant, the above mentioned companies beneficially owned and controlled by him 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,” the ED had earlier said in a statement.
The agency said the funds in question were used to buy land or repay loans taken for buying agricultural land in and around Delhi.
Among those named in the CBI case were Mr. Jain’s wife Poonam Jain, Ajit Prasad Jain, Vaibhav Jain, Sunil Kumar Jain and Ankush Jain. In December 2018, the agency filed a charge sheet against Mr. Jain and others after the Union Home Ministry granted sanction to prosecute him. The alleged disproportionate assets during the check period was quantified as ₹1.47 crore, said an official.
Responding to the development, the AAP MP said the BJP had problems with Mr. Jain now as he had been made in-charge of Himachal Pradesh. “The BJP is losing the election and that’s why he has been arrested in a baseless case and this exposes the BJP again,” he said, alleging that it was yet another instance of misuse of investigation agencies.
Mr. Singh said the AAP would fight the Himachal Pradesh election with full force even if the BJP created more hurdles. “This [Mr. Jain’s arrest] is being done to defame the AAP and it is not the first time they’re doing this. The BJP is scared of elections,” he said.