The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked the Enforcement Directorate to clarify on the alleged role of jailed AAP minister Satyendar Jain and two co-accused, who are seeking bail, in a money laundering case.
Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma was hearing submissions advanced on behalf of the accused on their bail pleas.
“What is the role assigned to these three persons? You file it again and give it by today evening,” the judge told the ED’s counsel.
Co-accused Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain have challenged a trial court’s November 17, 2022, order by which their bail pleas were dismissed.
During the hearing, the ED’s counsel claimed that Vaibhav and Ankush knowingly assisted Satyendar Jain in money laundering.
The counsel for Vaibhav and Ankush submitted that no proceeds of crime were generated within the check period, hence the offence of money laundering did not take place.
“No offence of money laundering can be made out against me,” he said, adding that the companies involved in the case belonged to his clients and Satyendar Jain had nothing to do with it.
During the hearing, the court asked the ED’s counsel whether disproportionate assets are created at the time when the money is given to hawala operators as accommodation entries or when it comes back to the company.
The ED’s counsel said when the accused gives money to hawala operators, money laundering starts there.
Satyendar Jain had earlier submitted that he has fully cooperated in the investigation and there was no allegation of any attempt made by him to tamper with evidence.
His counsel had said he was summoned by the ED several times and has appeared before the agency and never tried to influence witnesses.
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The minister has sought bail in relation to the ED’s case registered on September 30, 2017 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and said in his plea that he is neither in a position to influence witnesses or tamper with evidence nor he is a flight risk.
Further, as the charge sheet has already been filed, there is no requirement to continue his incarceration in the present case, he has asserted.
The AAP leader has challenged the trial court’s November 17 order by which his bail plea was dismissed on the ground that he was prima facie involved in concealing the proceeds of crime.
In his plea, he has claimed that since he was not in possession of any proceeds, the offence under the PMLA was not made out.
It has claimed that the special judge and ED has gravely misread and misapplied the PMLA by identifying proceeds of crime solely on the basis of accommodations entries which cannot itself lead to a punishable offence under the Act.
Proceeds of crime under the PMLA have to be derived as a result of scheduled criminal activity, it has said.
Jain, who was arrested by the ED on May 30, 2022 is currently in judicial custody. He was granted regular bail by a trial court on September 6, 2019 in the case lodged by the CBI.
Besides him, the trial court had also denied bail to the two co-accused saying that they “knowingly” assisted Jain in concealing the proceeds of crime and were “prima facie guilty” of money laundering.
The ED had arrested the accused in the money laundering case based on a CBI FIR lodged against Satyendar Jain in 2017 under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Satyendar Jain is accused of having laundered money through four companies allegedly linked to him.
In 2022, the trial court also took cognisance of the prosecution complaint (charge sheet) filed by the ED against Jain, his wife and eight others, including the four firms, in connection with the money laundering case.