Delhi, India: On April 6, the Delhi High Court rejected bail for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Cabinet Minister Satyendar Jain after noting that he is an influential person with the potential to tamper with evidence. The Court, based on the witness testimonies, said that “Satyendar Kumar Jain is the conceptualizer, visualizer and executor of the entire operation and his being aided and abated by Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain.”
Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma observed that Satyendar Jain and his co-accused Ankush Jain and Vaibhav Jain failed to meet the twin conditions laid u/s 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and u/s 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and therefore, are not entitled to bail.
The Court observed, “Thus, taking into account the totality of the facts, the petitioners at this stage cannot be held to have cleared the twin conditions of PMLA or the triple test.”
The trial court dismissed Satyendar Jain’s bail application on November 17, 2022. Then, Satyendar Jain moved the Delhi High Court for bail in December 2022, and the Court reserved the order on his bail application on March 22.
The trial court’s order held that prima facie Satyendar Jain “used the process of sending the proceeds of crime in the form of cash to Kolkata-based entry operators and thereafter, had obtained accommodation entries in the aforementioned companies against the sale of shares and thereafter, bought the shares back without any consideration,” to conceal the source of cash generated by Satyendar Jain.
The Delhi High Court said, “The evidence on record though speaks in volumes but has not been discussed or examined in detail so as to not cause prejudice to the petitioner.”
The Court outrightly rejected Satyendar Jain’s contention that he was not found in physical possession of any property and said, “for the offence of money laundering the physical possession of proceeds of crime is not necessary.” Furthermore, the Court said, “Similarly, the fact that shares so acquired were transferred back to Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain will also make no difference as it may again be done to conceal the proceeds of crime or projected as a untainted money.”
The Court also said that “the plea that the disproportionate assets was only Rs.1.47 crore and PMLA has filed the complaint for Rs.4.81 crores as proceeds of crime is not relevant as at this stage as the court has only to see whether the offence has been committed and whether the accused persons meet the twin conditions.’
The Court said, “In particular, where there is transaction of cash, I consider that it is a near impossible to get the direct evidence. In such cases, the court has to resort back to see the past trend and attendant circumstances of the case. This is the case where the money has been round tripped through shell companies.”
The Court added, “As submitted, it is not disputed that Rs. 4.81 Crores was received in these four companies M/s Akinchan Developers Pvt. Ltd., M/s Prayas Infosolution Pvt. Ltd., M/s Mangalayatan Projects Pvt. Ltd. and M/s J.J.Ideal Estate Pvt. Ltd. It is also not disputed that these transactions have been carried out through Kolkata based entry operators. Accused Satyendar Kumar Jain in his statement under Section 50 of PMLA abandoned his responsibilities by saying that he has nothing to do with the same. Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain have stated that it was their money.”
The Court said, “There is a long association amongst the petitioners evidencing the trend of getting entries through the same operators. The court has to see the prima facie case at this stage and to see whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that accused persons have not committed an offence and they are not likely to commit such offence. In view of the matter on record, the entire amount has rightly been attributed to the petitioners.”
The ASG opposed Satyendar Jain’s bail and said that he “should not be enlarged on bail as he is a very influential and powerful man. He continues to be a sitting Minister in Govt of NCT Delhi and was also holding several portfolios such as Health & Family Welfare, Industries, Home, Power Water, Urban Development and Irrigation & flood Control, etc.”
The ASG submitted, “He submits that the two entry operators namely, Rajinder Bansal and Jivender Mishra have expressed that Sh. Satyendar Jain being an influential politician will create a danger to them and their family and have therefore requested not to be confronted by Satyendar Jain.” The Court, accepting the ASG’s contention, said, “The petitioner Satyendar Kumar Jain is an influential person and has a potential to tamper with the evidence as indicated by his conduct during the custody.”
Furthermore, the Court said, “I consider that in view of the discussion made hereinabove, the broad probabilities indicate that M/s Akinchan Developer Pvt. Ltd., M/s Mangalayatan Projects Pvt. Ltd. and M/s Prayas Infosolution Pvt. Ltd. are controlled and managed by Satyendar Kumar Jain.”
The Court said that there is nothing illegal or perverse in the trial court’s order rejection of Satyendar Jain’s bail application and stated, “I do not find any illegality or perversity in such order. The order rejecting the bail applications are well-reasoned orders based on material on record.”