Delhi minister Satyendar Jain, arrested on Monday by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case, was taken into custody under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after a few hours of questioning, ED officials said.
ED officials alleged that Jain — minister for health, industries, power, home, urban development and water — was “evasive” in his replies. The arrest has been made by the federal agency in connection with alleged hawala dealings.
Legal experts say that the ED will have to justify the Delhi minister’s arrest, as he was arrested when he was summoned for questioning.
The ED had said last month that assets worth Rs 4.81 crore of Jain’s family and companies “beneficially owned and controlled” by him were provisionally attached as part of a money laundering probe against him.
Five companies in the dock
The probe agency alleged that a money laundering over Rs 4 crore was done through 5 companies, which were associated with Jain. The companies — Akinchan Developers Pvt. Ltd.; Indo Metal Impex Pvt Ltd; Paryas Infosolutions Pvt. Ltd.; Manglayatan Projects Pvt. Ltd.; J.J. Ideal Estate Pvt. Ltd. – were attached following a provisional order under the PMLA
The probe found that “during the period 2015-16, when Satyendar Kumar Jain was a public servant, the companies beneficially owned and controlled by him received accommodation entries to the tune of Rs 4.81 crore from shell (paper) companies against cash transferred to Kolkata-based entry operators through the hawala route.”
The amount was used for direct purchase of land or for repayment of loan taken for the purchase of agricultural land in and around Delhi in places like Auchandi, Bawana, Karala and Mohammad Majwi during 2010 to 2016, the ED alleged. The persons named in the attachment order are associates and family members of Jain, the officials said.
Case dating back to 2017
The money laundering case against 57-year-old Jain dates back to August 2017 when an FIR was filed by the CBI against him and others on charges of alleged possession of disproportionate assets (DA). A chargesheet was filed by the CBI in December 2018 stating that the alleged DA was to the tune of Rs 1.47 crore, about 217 per cent more than his known sources of income, during 2015-17. The Income Tax Department had also probed these transactions and issued an order attaching “benami assets” allegedly linked to Jain.
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An architect by profession, Jain worked in Central Public Works Department before coming in politics. His came in touch with Kejriwal and the AAP during the Anna Andolan. He was also the brain behind Mohalla clinic, which was a flagship programme of the AAP government in Delhi.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has calling it a political move ahead of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls later this year as Jain is the AAP’s in-charge for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.
Fake case, say AAP leaders
AAP leaders, including Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and others have criticised the move and called it a “fake case”. Reacting sharply to the arrest, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that the arrest is completely fraud and added that his government do not tolerate corruption.
Kejriwal had said in February that he had learnt from sources that the ED was going to arrest Jain just before the Punjab Assembly elections and accused the Centre of targeting the AAP after realising the BJP “would lose” the polls.
“The BJP is afraid of losing the (HP) election and hence, he was arrested to prevent him from going to Himachal. He will be released soon as he has been arrested in a fake case,” Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia tweeted.
Later, at a press conference here, senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh said Jain was earlier summoned by the ED seven times but was never arrested. He has been arrested now to “defame” the AAP ahead of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, Singh alleged.
(With agency inputs)
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