The High court on Friday had reserved the order on the plea moved by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The agency had moved Delhi High court challenging the order of a special court allowing Satyendar Jain to have counsel during interrogation. Jain is in the custody of ED till June 9.
Justice Yogesh Khanna while passing the order said, “Since there is neither any FIR nor a complaint against the respondent, he cannot, as a matter of right, claim to have the presence of his lawyer during the course of recording of his statement as per the judgement in the case of Ramesh Chander Metra and Anant Brahmachari.”
“Even otherwise, admittedly, his entire recording of statement is being videographed and autographed which certainly would dispel the apprehension of any coercion, threat to the respondent,” Justice Khanna observed.
Thus the impugned direction stands stayed. The matter is listed on August 24.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju at the outset of the hearing on Friday had argued the said order of the special judge is without reasoning. He also said that Satyender Jain is not an accused therefore he is not entitled to this relief.
ASG Raju also had submitted that there are no allegations of threatening or beating up the accused. Therefore the presence of counsel during interrogation is not required. It is permitted by the courts in many cases. It is only to avoid any dispute during the inquiry.
He also had submitted that ED Videography is for every inquiry or interrogation. In this case, Jain himself was not ready for videography during the inquiry.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi objected to the submission made by the ASG Raju.
Singhvi argued that the presence of counsel during the inquiry was always permitted by the court. He referred to the judgement given by the Supreme Court. The presence of counsel is always permitted at a visible distance beyond the audible distance during the interrogation, Singhvi argued.
He also argued that the presence is allowed to guide the person in arrest to guide which question is to answer. It is important in view of the admissibility of statements taken under section 50 Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Singhvi objected to the submission that Jain is not an accused. He said he is accused in the case registered in August 2017 by the Central Bureau of investigation. In this case, also he was arrested and custody was taken by the agency. In these circumstances, his client is entitled to have counsel during interrogation.
Special Judge Geetanjali Goel on May 31 had granted the custody of Jain to ED till June 9 in a money laundering case. The special judge at the request of counsel for Satyendar Jain had allowed being present during interrogation at distance from Where he can see but can not hear the questioning. The ED had sought custody of Jain in the money laundering matter to unearth the trail of money and its source. It was alleged that the accused was involved in money laundering through accommodation entries in the companies. (ANI)