Money-laundering case: Supreme Court asks Punjab AAP MLA Jaswant Singh to respond to ED’s affidavit : The Tribune India

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Money-laundering case: Supreme Court asks Punjab AAP MLA Jaswant Singh to respond to ED’s affidavit

On May 29, the top court had refused to grant interim bail to Singh to campaign in Lok Sabha election

Money-laundering case: Supreme Court asks Punjab AAP MLA Jaswant Singh to respond to ED’s affidavit

Jaswant Singh Gajjan Majra. Tribune file



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, June 10

 The Supreme Court on Monday asked Punjab AAP MLA Jaswant Singh Gajjan Majra to respond to the Enforcement Directorate’s affidavit justifying his arrest in a money-laundering case linked to a bank fraud. The ED also opposed his interim bail plea.

A Vacation Bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Augustine George Masih deferred the hearing to June 18 after being informed that the AAP MLA had not filed his rejoinder to the ED’s reply to his petition.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the ED, urged the Bench to wait for the outcome of Arvind Kejriwal case in which another Bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna has reserved its verdict on the same issue of ‘sufficiency of grounds’ of arrest and Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

However, senior counsel Vikram Chaudhri and advocate Nikhil Jain contended on behalf of the AAP MLA that the issues in the two cases were different and the reason for Gajjan Majra being remanded to judicial custody was primarily non-appearance.

Asserting that a prima facie case was made out against him, the ED had on June 7 opposed the AAP MLA’s petition against his arrest as well as his application for interim bail in a money laundering case.

“It is clear that a prima facie case is being made out against the petitioner herein and also clearly brings out the nature & extent of his influence and his attempt to approach courts with unclean hands,” the ED said in an affidavit filed in response to his petition challenging his arrest on money laundering charges,

“The petitioner is not in custody today pursuant to the arrest but pursuant to independent remand orders which have sent him to judicial custody,” the ED told the top court, opposing Singh’s petition challenging his arrest.

Responding to Singh’s petition challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s May 24 order dismissing his plea challenging his arrest, the ED had asserted that there was no illegality in his arrest. “It’s a well-settled principle that illegality at the time of arrest does not render subsequent remand orders passed to be illegal,” it said.

The AAP MLA was arrested on November 6, 2023, and the written grounds of arrest were supplied to him the same day, the high court had noted. The CBI conducted raids in May last year on premises linked to Jaswant Singh in connection with a Rs 40 crore bank fraud. In September 2022, the ED had conducted raids on several premises linked to him as part of a money laundering probe linked to the alleged bank loan fraud. The ED had allegedly seized Rs 32 lakh cash, mobile phones and hard drives during the raids.

On May 29, the top court had refused to grant interim bail to Singh to campaign in the Lok Sabha polls. 

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had earlier dismissed his plea challenging his arrest, observing that there was no illegality. “We do not find any manifest illegality in the orders of remand and subsequent proceedings”, the high court had said.

The AAP MLA from Amargarh contended that he was arrested in violation of Section 19 (1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. However, the high court had pointed out that written grounds of arrest were served on him as borne out by his signatures which amounted to substantive compliance of Section 19(1) of the PMLA.

 

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#Enforcement Directorate #Lok Sabha #Supreme Court


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