Thu, 01 Dec 2022

New Delhi [India], September 28 (ANI): Even the Mumbai 26/11 attacker and convict Ajmal Kasab had a fair trial; it is the fairness of our judicial system, argued senior counsel for Delhi Cabinet Minister Satyendar Jain.

It was also argued that his case is not worse than Kasab's.

On the other hand, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) contended that the doctors and jail authorities were managed as the accused earlier had the Health and Jail Department portfolio as Delhi Cabinet Minister.

These arguments were made before the Delhi High Court on Wednesday. After hearing the arguments, the bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna listed the matter for clarification/order on October 1.

Satyendar Jain moved Delhi High Court challenging Principal District and Sessions Court of Rouse Avenue Court order allowing ED Petition for transfer of his case to another judge.

During the rebuttal argument, Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra argued that there is no material to show biasedness on the part of the judge.

Rahul Mehra referred to the application moved by ED seeking transfer of the case to another judge which said that the agency is not casting any aspersions but there is a grave likelihood, and reason to believe that issues were premeditated.

Mehra raised a question to ED, "Who are you to raise to cast these aspersions? Still, you are saying you are not casting aspersions."He also submitted, "You (ED) are an agency of the central government and you are saying that the doctors were sold out. How can you say that? Some of the doctors in LNJP are Padma Shri and even Padma Vibhushan. They are life savers. You asked the High Court to direct the jail authorities to admit the petitioner to AIIMS which is under your direct control."Mehra argued, "You are going to set as an example that if you go against the agency if you ask a question, that will send a message that we (ED) will cast aspersion on you and would seek transfer of the case. This will have a chilling effect on the institution. We have to protect it."He asked a question, "Is asking a question by the court making its mind, is it biased? Why then is there a pretence of a fair trial? It is shocking and it pricks our conscience."The senior counsel argued, "there may be a bias between the accused and jail authorities, where the judge came into this? Even Ajmal Kasab had a fair trial in this country, it is the fairness of our judicial system."He submitted that a cost should be imposed on the respondent to send a message to society.

At the outset of the arguments in the morning, it was argued by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal on behalf of Jain that the ED sought a transfer of the case after my rejoinder on the bail application was over. Though, all the facts mentioned in the transfer application were in the knowledge of the prosecution agency.

Sibal submitted that one of the grounds in the application moved on 19 September, was that some of the submissions by the counsel for the agency were not answered by the judge. There was a probable apprehension of bias.

The second ground was that the judge did not agree to call for an independent report from AIIMS, Safdarjung or any independent hospital. There was the third ground that the doctors of LNJP hospital advised the accused to avoid the jerky movement. The petitioner was allowed to appear before the court through video conferencing. These are the grounds of bias according to the agency.

The senior advocate Sibal argued that there was not a single order in favour of the petitioner. They were granted full 14 days of custody to interrogate him. They had all the information even on August 6, they did not raise any objection. They raised their objection after the completion of arguments on the bail application on September 15.

The judge on July 19 said, " The court will consider their objection when I get the medical report from LNJP," Sibal argued. If there was a bias, then why not move an application earlier? Even no objection was not mentioned in the reply on the interim bail application."They showed their apprehension on September 15 and moved an application on September 19. The application was kept pending. Then the Supreme Court directed the District and Sessions Judge to decide it in a day.

Thereafter the application was decided and the case was transferred to another court. It is the first case where a prosecution agency sought a transfer. There was no allegation of bias till September 13.

The uncommon species are ruling the country nowadays, Sibal said during his arguments.

On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju said, "The accused was manipulating the jail authorities and Hospital. He was taken to RML hospital on June 13, during ED custody. There was no complaint, no headache, no corona-related effect, and his chest was clear. Till ED custody his condition was good."After the ED custody, he was remanded to judicial custody, where he complained and was admitted to the jail hospital. It was recorded that he had fever and headache, sleeping apnea and other problems. It was also said that his oxygen level was fluctuating. While in ED custody his Oxygen level was at 96, ASG argued.

He also submitted that the objection was raised before the trial court that this report is fishy and an independent report may be called from an independent hospital. The judge had said that the report is not before me, let it come. It was submitted that not only the report but the entire system is false. Jail authorities were won over.

ASG also submitted that the petitioner was allowed to appear through video conferencing. When the IO went to the hospital to make arrangements for the VC, he saw that the petitioner was there without any cannula on his hand or oxygen mask on his mouth. Even his wife was also there in the hospital.

He also submitted that the jail doctor's conduct was fishy. The conduct of the LNJP doctor was also fishy. A fake certificate was issued. He was shifted to the LNJP hospital from the jail hospital. He was a minister with a health portfolio. There was the apprehension of influence. His name was on the website and he had inaugurated many facilities there.

The Principal District and Sessions Judge Vinay Kumar Gupta on September 23 agreed to transfer the Satyendar Jain money laundering case to another judge and listed the matter afresh for hearing today itself.

According to the order the case was transferred to Special Judge Vikas Dhull. Earlier it was heard in length by Special Judge Geetanjali Goel.

Earlier on Thursday, during arguments of ED, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju submitted that there was an attempt to seek medical bail by using false medical reports.

"Satyendar Jain was also the Jail Minister. He spent most of the time in the hospital during judicial custody, the medical report was given fake. We have all the documents to the court, but nothing happened. He has been handling the Delhi Prisons too as a Minister and can use power, money, and influence," ASG Raju added.

Appearing for Satyendar Jain, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal submitted that he was shifted to LNJP Hospital and as per the jail manual no violation was held.

"When the same judge granted remand to Satyendar Jain then it was fine. The ED plea seeking the transfer of the case to another is clearly showing a malafide contention. The ground taken by the ED is totally vague," Advocate Sibal said.

Earlier the court of District Judge had stayed Satyendar Jain's trial after ED plea had sought the transfer of the case and issued notices to all the accused persons.

All three accused, Satyendar Jain and the co-accused Ankush Jain and Vaibhav Jain are currently in Judicial Custody.

Senior Advocate N Hariharan, appearing for Satyendar Jain, expressed his displeasure with Special Judge Geetanjali Goel and submitted, "It's really unfair. Totally uncalled for. They are preempting things. We'll oppose it tooth and nail."The ED had arrested Satyendar Jain and two others in a money laundering case based on a CBI FIR lodged against the AAP leader in 2017 under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The minister was accused of having laundered money through four companies allegedly linked to him.

On September 16, the ED quizzed Jain inside the Jail in relation to the Excise policy case.

Special Judge Geetanjali Goel allowed the application moved by the ED seeking permission to question Satyendar Jain in the excise policy case.

Recently the court also took cognizance of the chargesheet filed by the ED against Satyendar Jain, his wife, and eight others including four firms in connection with the money laundering case.

The ED on June 6 claimed to have seized Rs 2.85 crore in cash and 133 gold coins weighing 1.80 kg from Satyendar Jain's aides during its day-long raid conducted at various places across Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). During these raids, the agency also seized various incriminating documents and digital records.

The ED had initiated the money-laundering investigation on the basis of a First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on August 24, 2017.

The FIR was registered under Section 13(2) and 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against Satyendar Jain, Poonam Jain, Ajit Prasad Jain, Sunil Kumar Jain, Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain. (ANI)

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