"ED investigation biased from the start": Lawyer for two aides of Delhi Minister Satyendra Jain in PMLA case tells court

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Advocate Sushil Gupta counsel for the co-accused concluded his arguments before Special Judge Vikas Dhull, of the Rouse Avenue Court, Delhi, in a money laundering case, after the High Court allowed the transfer application. Earlier, Special Judge Geetanjali Goel heard the matter.

Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court saw arguments by advocate for co-accused in the bail hearing of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Minister Satyendra Jain in a money laundering case. 

In April, Directorate of Enforcement (ED) attached assets worth Rs. 4.81 crores linked to Jain and his family. ED initiated an investigation based on an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Jain and others under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

It is alleged that when Jain was a public servant, companies owned and controlled by him received up to Rs. 4.81 crores from shell companies through the Hawala network.

Advocate Sushil Gupta appearing for co-accused Ankush Jain and Vaibhav Jain, two aides of the Delhi Minister, on Thursday concluded his submissions stating that cash transactions made to 'Lal Sher Singh Charitable Trust' have been classified as "proceeds of crime" by ED and that their investigation is "unfair."

Gupta also stated that Ankush and Vaibhav Jain loaned the Trust Rs. 1 crore, which he claimed was ignored by the investigating agency because they were only interested in the cash transactions that occurred. He also claimed that 'Accommodation Entry' cannot be considered criminal proceeds. He also stated that all of the transactions are bank transactions. 

Gupta claimed that the ED conducted the investigation with a bias from the start, referring to it as the "Theory of Confirmation Bias," and that Vaibhav Jain was summoned three to four times by the agency, but he was never confronted with Satyendra Jain. He also stated that Vaibhav Jain was not interrogated in front of the camera and was forced to confess and write down things against Satyendra Jain, after which he refused and received life and family threats.

Gupta while concluding his arguments contended,

“I am a Businessman doing my business independently, just because at some point in time, Satyendra Jain was linked to me, I have been dragged into this case.” Gupta also argued that according to the ED, the CBI case going on is an antecedent of this case, and stated that the investigating agency has made a mockery of the whole case.

After hearing the contentions of Advocate Sushil Gupta, Special Judge Vikas Dhull of the Rouse Avenue Court, Delhi listed the matter for hearing Satyendra Jain’s counsel’s arguments post-Diwali break, on October 31.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court dismissed a plea moved by Jain challenging the decision of the trial court which allowed the plea filed by ED for transfer of his bail application in a Money Laundering case. On Tuesday, Special Judge Vikas Dhull began hearing the bail application afresh.

During the hearing, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP), N. K. Matta, filed an additional affidavit on behalf of the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) before the court, showing the conduct of the three accused namely, Satyendra Jain, Ankush Jain, and Vaibhav Jain the Jail. Matta alleged that the three accused are hampering the investigation and that Ankush and Vaibhav are helping Jain. He also contended that Jain is controlling everything from the inside.

On the other hand, Advocate Sushil Gupta appearing for Ankush Jain and Vaibhav Jain submitted that the affidavit can be placed on record, and began making his arguments before the court. He contended that as per the inquiry of the ED, 1/3rd of the shareholdings are associated with Satyendra Jain.

While referring to the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charge sheet, Gupta stated that they have made a “notional value” that 1/3rd of the shareholdings are Jain’s and that Ankush and Vaibhav are Benami shareholders to it.

He argued that there are ‘no proceeds of crime’ in the case and informed the court that the CBI did not bring in any conspiracy after its investigation, it is the ED that has alleged ‘conspiracy is hatched’. Gupta further argued that the entire process of ED while stating the proceeds of crime is “Faulty”. He stated that the ED is making “Mountains out of small moles”.

The bail application filed by Satyendra Jain pertains to his arrest in a Money Laundering case in which he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on May 31, 2022.

Case Title: Directorate of Enforcement v. Satyendra Kumar Jain & Ors.