Satyendar Jain’s plea against transfer of trial rejected by Delhi high court

Updated on Oct 02, 2022 02:42 AM IST

The court’s order came on a petition by Jain and other accused in which they had challenged the verdict by the trial court last week transferring the money laundering case from special judge Geetanjali Goel to special judge Vikas Dhull.

ED has accused Delhi minister Satyendar Jain of having laundered money through four companies allegedly linked to him and where he was holding shares, while amassing disproportionate income. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
ED has accused Delhi minister Satyendar Jain of having laundered money through four companies allegedly linked to him and where he was holding shares, while amassing disproportionate income. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)

The Delhi high court on Saturday rejected a plea by state government minister Satyendar Jain challenging the transfer of trail in a money laundering case against him to a new judge, saying that the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s apprehension of bias by a trial court judge is reasonable and not based on flimsy ground.

Justice Yogesh Khanna, in his order, said that the agency’s apprehension of bias by the trial court judge was not raised at a belated stage, “as the requests for an independent evaluation were consistently made”. It further said that the apprehension has to be seen from the point of view of the party, and not from the judge’s angle.

Also read: Delhi govt gets 768 crore from liquor sale in September

“The question is not of integrity or uprightness of the judge or of the authorities over which Jain once had jurisdiction, but is of an apprehension in the mind of a party…The facts show the department did not merely harbour such apprehension but rather had acted upon it by rushing to this court, hence it cannot be said to be flimsy or not reasonable,” the court said in its order.

The court’s order came on a petition by Jain and other accused in which they had challenged the verdict by the trial court last week transferring the money laundering case from special judge Geetanjali Goel to special judge Vikas Dhull.

On September 23, the trial court had allowed the transfer to another judge after ED had moved an application stating that “there is a grave likelihood and a reason to believe that the issues (in the case) have been premeditated”.

Challenging the order of transfer, Jain rushed to the high court hours within which it was passed. On Wednesday, arguing for Jain, senior advocate Kapil Sibal had contended before justice Khanna that “uncommon species are ruling the country” and he was being denied a fair trial by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case.

Contending that even dreaded terrorist Ajmal Kasab got a fair trial, Jain, senior counsel Sibal and Rahul Mehra, had said the ED cannot be allowed to “brow beat a judge” and seek transfer of the case on the basis of a “bias” without any basis as it would lead to “anarchy” and unscrupulous litigants would come to the court seeking transfers.

Additional solicitor general SV Raju, appearing for ED, argued that the agency was not casting any aspersions on the judge as it was nobody’s case that bias has been proved , a submission vehemently opposed by Jain’s counsel.

The ED had arrested Jain and fellow accused Ankush Jain and Vaibhav Jain in a money laundering case based on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) first information report (FIR) lodged against the AAP leader in 2017 under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Jain, currently in judicial custody, is accused of having laundered money through four companies linked to him.

Also read: No PUC, no fuel: Delhi govt on petrol, diesel sale after Diwali

The case is based on a 2017 CBI FIR lodged against the minister in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. ED has accused him of having laundered money through four companies allegedly linked to him and where he was holding shares, while amassing disproportionate income.

According to ED, Jain transferred money to Kolkata through hawala channel and got it back from dummy companies in the form of accommodation entries, even though he could not show the source of the money received.

Accommodation entries are usually done by hawala operators to accommodate illegal money in a company through a shell firm or in the form of cash by breaking large amounts into smaller sums to avoid suspicion.

The ED had earlier provisionally attached assets worth 4.81 crore of Jain’s family and companies “beneficially owned and controlled” by him as part of a money-laundering probe against him.

According to the charge sheet, out of 10 accused, four are private firms and six individuals are accused in this case, including Satyendar Jain and his wife Poonam Jain. Recently, the court took cognisance of the prosecution complaint (charge sheet) filed by ED against Satyendar Jain, his wife and eight others including four firms in connection with the money laundering case.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Reports from the Delhi High Court and stories on legal developments in the city. Avid mountain lover, cooking and playing with birds 🐦 when not at work

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, November 28, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals