Satyendar Jain returns to Delhi’s Tihar jail after SC rejects his plea for bail | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

Satyendar Jain returns to Delhi’s Tihar jail after SC rejects his plea for bail

Mar 19, 2024 05:09 AM IST

The former Delhi minister has been out on interim bail since May 2023, but the Supreme Court rejected his plea for regular bail on Monday

Former Delhi minister Satyendar Jain returned to Tihar jail on Monday evening, hours after the Supreme Court refused to grant the senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader regular bail in a money-laundering case and directed the 69-year-old, who has been out on interim bail since May 2023, to surrender immediately.

Satyendar Jain leaves his house for Tihar Jail on Monday. (ANI)
Satyendar Jain leaves his house for Tihar Jail on Monday. (ANI)

“The appeals are dismissed. The petitioner shall surrender forthwith before the special court,” said a bench of justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal.

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After Jain returned to prison, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hailed the city’s former health, power and PWD minister. “He is a hero for all Dilli wallas. He made arrangements for providing 24x7 electricity, free electricity, good govt hospitals and mohalla clinics. Feel extremely sad for him and his family. God bless him,” Kejriwal said in a post on X.

Jain has been accused of laundering money through four companies he is allegedly linked to. He was arrested in May 2022 in a money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), following a 2017 complaint by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which alleged that Jain acquired disproportionate assets worth 1.47 crore while he was a minister in the Delhi government.

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The AAP leader was granted interim bail on medical grounds on May 26, 2023 after he suffered a fall in a prison bathroom.

But the top court rejected his plea for regular bail on Monday.

“Right to speedy trial and access to justice is a valuable right enshrined in the Constitution of India,” the judgment noted, clarifying that the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) Section 436A, which entitle an undertrial to be released on bail on completion of half of the maximum sentence prescribed for the offence, did not apply to Jain.

The former Delhi minister has completed 12 months in prison, while the maximum punishment for Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), under which Jain is charged, is a seven-year jail term.

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Advocate Vivek Jain, appearing for the former minister, asked that Jain be given more time to surrender, citing his ill-health. The court, however, rejected the request and maintained its order, also dismissing the bail plea of two other co-accused — Ankush and Vaibhav Jain.

“The appellants have miserably failed to satisfy us that there are reasonable grounds for believing that they are not guilty of the alleged offences. On the contrary, there is sufficient material collected by the respondent-ED to show that they are prima facie guilty of the alleged offences,” said the bench.

The top court relied on the investigation conducted by ED. The agency interrogated a person named Rajender Bansal, who allegedly received cash from the AAP leader in Kolkata through hawala operators. This money was then passed on to other entry operators to collect cash. According to Bansal’s statement to ED, he received cash through hawala operators in Kolkata 40 to 50 times on the instructions of Satyendar Jain and others between the period 2010-2016, totalling to approximately 17 crore.

Bansal provided accommodation entries for Jain’s companies of about 17 crore, for which he had earned 12.4 lakh as commission, ED submitted in court.

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Appearing for the AAP leader, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi had argued that on all fronts — shareholding, directorship and control over financials of the companies — the petitioner could not be said to have held control over these companies. He also submitted that Jain had not signed any financial document during the said period, and had already resigned from the directorship of the companies two years before the alleged commission of the offence.

Jain left his home in Saraswati Vihar in northwest Delhi hours after the judgment was passed. Wearing a green T-shirt and a lumbar support belt, he left for Tihar around 5.45 pm.

A Tihar spokesperson confirmed that Jain reached Tihar jail around 6.30 pm. “He’s also undergoing physiotherapy and a doctor, stationed at the jail, keeps a check on all the inmates,” the spokesperson said.

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