The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition to declare Aam Aadmi Party leader Satyendar Jain as a person of “unsound mind” and his disqualify him as an MLA and a minister in the Arvind Kejriwal government, reported Live Law on Sunday.
Jain is a minister without a portfolio in the Delhi government. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on May 30 in a money laundering case and is currently in judicial custody.
The money laundering case is based on a first information report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2017. The agency has alleged that between February 2015 and May 2017, Jain acquired assets disproportionate to his income.
The public interest litigation to declare Jain of “unsound mind” was filed Ashish Kumar Srivastava, who identified himself as a social worker.
Srivastava claimed that when Enforcement Directorate officials confronted Jain with some documents during the investigation, the minister had said that he did not remember having signed the papers as he had lost memory due to a severe case of the coronavirus disease.
The petitioner sought Jain to be dismissed as a Delhi minister citing that someone could take undue advantage of his memory loss due to which residents of the city could have to suffer. The petition also sought making all decisions taken by Jain as a minister as null and void.
In its order dated August 16 that was made public on Saturday, a division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said the court cannot declare Jain as a person with “unsound mind” and cannot disqualify him from being an MLA or a minister under Section 226 of the Indian Penal Code.
The provision deals with power of the High Courts to issue writs, the order for constitutional remedies against the violation of a citizen’s fundamental rights. The High Court can decide whether or not to issue the writ.
The judges noted that Jain was being prosecuted for various offences under the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act as well as Prevention of Money Laundering Act. They, however, refused to take any action against Jain saying that the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, provides a mechanism for investigation, inquiry and trial of a person.
“The Code of Criminal Procedure caters to all contingencies and it is for the prosecution/court to take appropriate steps in accordance with law,” it said.
The case against Jain
The Enforcement Directorate has alleged that four firms – Akinchan Developers Private Limited, Paryas Infosolutions Private Limited, Manglayatan Projects Private Limited and JJ Ideal Estate Private Limited – are shell companies controlled by Jain and his relatives.
The agency claimed that money routed through the companies was used to buy land or repay loans taken to buy agricultural land in and around Delhi.
In April, the Enforcement Directorate had attached immovable property worth Rs 4.81 crore allegedly belonging to companies linked to Jain and his relatives.