Court declines Satyendar Jain plea for case transfer
The former Delhi minister moved the application seeking transfer of his trial in disproportionate assets case from special judge Vikas Dhull to another, alleging bias
A Delhi court on Wednesday dismissed the applications moved by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Satyendar Jain, seeking the transfer of a disproportionate assets case pending against him, as well as the money laundering case stemming from it, to a different judge on the ground of apprehension of bias.
“I find that Ld. Judge has been dealing with the matter properly by following the rules of natural justice. I find nothing against the neutrality and impartiality of Ld. Judge and the plea of bias as perceived by the applicant and pleaded in the transfer application is not correct,” said principal district and sessions judge Anju Bajaj Chandna.
Jain, a former Delhi minister, had moved the application seeking transfer of his trial in the case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate from special judge Vikas Dhull to another, alleging bias, and cited an order passed on November 17, 2022, dismissing his bail application in the CBI matter.
While passing the order on his bail, Dhull had observed that Jain “has prima facie indulged in the offence of money laundering of more than Rs. 1 Crore”.
He had further relied upon various other observations given in the order regarding which it was asserted that the judge should not have passed the observations particularly when their arguments are yet to be heard in the matter.
“The observations made by Ld. Judge has been due to compulsion of law to note the relevant facts, evidence and legal position to come to the conclusion about granting or declining the bail,” the judge noted in the order.
The court also observed that protection had been extended to the defence by specifically recording in the order that nothing stated in it would be taken as expression on merits.
It also noted that the bail order passed by Dhull would not prevent the counsels for Jain to re-agitate and take up all his pleas during arguments on charge in the matter.
“The strong observations made by a judge cannot itself be the basis to conclude that judge is not holding the trial in a fair and impartial manner. A Judge is supposed to conduct the proceedings without fear and favour. During the course of proceedings, some orders may favour prosecution and some may favour defence but such orders cannot be made the basis of attributing bias to the Judge concerned,” the court added.
The CBI had registered a case against Jain on August 24, 2017, under sections of Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code alleging that he had acquired assets disproportionate to his income between February 14, 2015 and May 31, 2017.
The ED registered a case based on the CBI case on August 30, 2017, under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Jain was granted bail on July 6, 2019, in the CBI case but was arrested by the ED on May 30, 2022, and was remanded in judicial custody.
Jain has currently been granted interim medical bail by the Supreme Court on May 26.