We Are Not Here To Fix Roster Of High Court- SC Refuses To Entertain Satyendar Jain's Plea
The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea filed by jailed Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain against an order of the Delhi High Court which sought the response of the Enforcement Directorate to his plea seeking bail in a money laundering case, saying that the Apex Court is not there to fix the High Court's roster.
A Bench of Justice M R Shah and Justice S Ravindra Bhat pulled up Jain for approaching the Apex Court when the High Court was seized of the matter.
"You straightaway come to the Supreme Court just because you can afford to come here. You can request the high court for early hearing. We are not here to fix the roster of the High Court," the Bench observed when Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Jain, said the High Court be asked to take up the matter as the vacations are about to start.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, opposed the request and said the petitioner cannot get special treatment everywhere.
"Upto jail it is ok. Out of turn it cannot be done. There are several people in jails seeking expeditious disposal but cannot afford to come to Supreme Court," Mehta said.
At the outset, Mehra said every bail plea should be expedited and the stand of the State against this is very unfortunate as it is a matter of personal liberty.
Mehta vehemently opposed Jain's petition for expeditious hearing of the bail plea. Justice Bhat voiced concern over pending bail matters in courts.
"Personally I will voice this, not for this case but we are bogged down by bail matters. We have hardly seen the end of any trial. This is a matter of concern," Justice Bhat made an oral remark.
Mehra then sought to withdraw the plea and the matter was dismissed as withdrawn.
The High Court had on December 1 sought the stand of the Enforcement Directorate on Jain's plea seeking bail in the money laundering case.
Jain has sought bail in the ED's case registered on September 30, 2017 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and said in his plea that he is neither in a position to influence witnesses, nor tamper with evidence, nor he is a flight risk.
The AAP leader has challenged the trial court's November 17 order by which his bail plea was dismissed on grounds that he was prima facie involved in concealing the proceeds of crime.
In his plea, the AAP leader claimed since he was not in possession of any proceeds of the alleged crime, the offence under the PMLA was not made out.
The petition claimed the special judge and the ED had gravely misread and misapplied the PMLA by identifying proceeds of crime solely on the basis of accommodation entries which cannot by itself lead to a punishable offence under the Act.
Jain, who was arrested by the ED on May 30, is currently in judicial custody. He was granted regular bail by a trial court on September 6, 2019 in the case lodged by the CBI.
Besides him, the trial court had also denied bail to two co-accused -- Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain, saying they "knowingly" assisted Jain in concealing the proceeds of crime and were "prima facie guilty" of money laundering.
The trial court had said "prima facie" Jain was "actually involved in concealing the proceeds of crime by giving cash to Kolkata-based entry operators and thereafter, bringing the cash into three companies... against the sale of shares to show that income of these three companies was untainted one."
It said Jain had knowingly engaged in such activity to obliterate the trace of the source of ill-gotten money and accordingly the proceeds of crime was layered through Kolkata-based entry operators in a way that its source was difficult to decipher.
"Hence, applicant/accused Satyendar Kumar Jain has prima facie indulged in the offence of money laundering of more than Rs 1 crore," the trial court had said, adding that money laundering was a "serious economic offence".
Jain is accused of having laundered money through four companies allegedly linked to him.
Earlier this year, the trial court took cognisance of the prosecution complaint (charge sheet) filed by the ED against Jain, his wife and eight others, including the four firms, in connection with the money laundering case.
The matter will be heard next by the High Court on December 20.
With PTI inputs